So far, casino gambling in Massachusetts has not significantly affected the state’s social and economic landscape, according to the latest findings from a research team led by the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
“There is little evidence of marked socioeconomic changes to date in Massachusetts that can be attributed to gambling,” the new report concludes. The report is part of a long-term study, called the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts, being contracted by the state.
The report examined the effects of Plainridge Park Casino, a slots parlor in Plainville that opened in 2015. The latest findings do not include the MGM Springfield resort casino, which opened in August. It will be included in future updates.
Since Plainridge Park opened, there has been no significant change in the prevalence of problem gambling statewide or around Plainville, as well as no significant changes in health, stress, substance use, or addictions that can be linked to the casino.
There has been no significant change in the overall amount of crime, though increases in credit card fraud and reports of lost property and suspicious activity in Plainville are probably related to Plainridge Park, the report found. “These increases . . . are largely attributable to an increased volume of visitors to the area,” the report stated.
There has been no change in traffic or noise at a statewide level connected to the introduction of casinos, though traffic volume and complaints have increased in Plainville, and traffic volume has gone up in Everett, where about 1,500 construction workers are employed at the Encore casino site, the report says. The $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor resort is under construction and is scheduled to open in June.
Future studies will seek to measure the effects of the state’s resort casinos, which offer more slot machines as well as table games, hotels, and other amenities.