Nav: Home

UMass Amherst study updates impacts of Plainridge Park Casino

November 07, 2019

The Plainridge Park Casino has created job opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed, among other economic benefits, without an increase in problem gambling, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers from the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) study.

Three new reports, which are part of the most in-depth and comprehensive investigation ever undertaken into the impact of introducing casino gambling, were presented Thursday to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in Plainville. The first report on the social and economic impacts from 2013 to 2018 found largely positive effects from the state's only slot parlor. The SEIGMA team summarized some of the findings in two fact sheets on traffic and public health impacts.

No change in the rate of problem gambling was detected, likely due to a pre-existing high rate of gambling by Plainville-area residents at nearby casinos in Rhode Island and Connecticut, in operation since the early 1990s.

Researchers also discussed results from a survey of the slot parlor's new employees in 2017-2018 and released an economic impact report covering the slot parlor's first four years of operation.

With two larger, resort casinos now open -- MGM Springfield in August 2018 and Encore Boston Harbor in June 2019 -- understanding the dynamic nature of the casino industry's economic impacts is especially important, says Tom Peake, lead author of the economic impact report and senior research analyst at the UMass Donahue Institute, a part of SEIGMA.

"Projections of employment, vendor spending, and state and local revenue were important considerations when the Commonwealth chose to award gaming licenses to the casino operators. That's why it's so important that the SEIGMA project studies and makes this information available to the public - how are the casinos actually performing given the dynamic gaming market of the Northeast?"

Plainridge Park revenues rose 6.25 percent in the three years it was operating as the sole casino in the state, from about $160 million in fiscal 2016 to $170 million in fiscal 2018. In fiscal 2019, after the opening of MGM Springfield, revenues dropped slightly to $169 million.

The number of Plainridge Park Casino visitors has decreased each fiscal year, though the average gross gaming revenue per patron has increased by 27 percent, driving the rise in revenues. "While the economic impacts of Plainridge Park Casino to date are clearly positive, it is somewhat concerning to see an increase in spending per patron because it suggests that a smaller number of individuals are spending more," says Rachel Volberg, principal investigator of the SEIGMA study and research professor in the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences. "If this increase in spending is affecting patrons' ability to meet other financial obligations, it would suggest the need to raise awareness about the importance of keeping gambling entertaining and not spending more than one can afford."

According to the employment report, almost half of respondents said they had previously been unemployed or employed part time. About 75 percent of respondents said they had less than a bachelor's degree.

"Analyzing casino employment is critical to understanding whether casino employment can be a pathway to economic stability and prosperity for workers," says lead author Andrew Hall, senior research analyst at the UMass Donahue Institute. "We are investigating these impacts across the state, especially among the most marginalized sectors of the population. The new employee survey gives us insight into casino employees' experience on the ground: why they're seeking employment in this new field, what types of walks of life employees come from, their aspirations and how casino employment fits into their career goals, and their interest in training and career advancement."

Most of Plainridge Park's employees live near the casino - "so that's money people living in Massachusetts are spending in Massachusetts," Volberg says.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Related Public Health Articles:

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.
Bloomberg American Health Initiative releases special public health reports supplement
With US life expectancy now on the decline for two consecutive years, the Bloomberg American Health Initiative is releasing a supplement to Public Health Reports, the scholarly journal of the US Surgeon General.
Data does the heavy lifting: Encouraging new public health approaches to promote the health benefits of muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE)
According to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, almost 75 percent of US adults do not comply with public health guidelines recommending two or more muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE) sessions a week, with nearly 60 percent of the population doing no MSE at all.
The Lancet Public Health: Moderate carbohydrate intake may be best for health
Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fats from plant sources associated with lower risk of mortality compared to those that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fat from animal sources.
Mass. public safety, public health agencies collaborate to address the opioid epidemic
A new study shows that public health and public safety agencies established local, collaborative programs in Massachusetts to connect overdose survivors and their personal networks with addiction treatment, harm reduction, and other community support services following a non-fatal overdose.
Cyber attacks can threaten public health
Gordon and Landman have authored a Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine that addresses the growing threat of attacks on information systems and the potential implications on public health.
Public health guidelines aim to lower health risks of cannabis use
Canada's Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, released today with the endorsement of key medical and public health organizations, provide 10 science-based recommendations to enable cannabis users to reduce their health risks.
Study clusters health behavior groups to broaden public health interventions
A new study led by a University of Kansas researcher has used national health statistics and identified how to cluster seven health behavior groups based on smoking status, alcohol use, physical activity, physician visits and flu vaccination are associated with mortality.
Public health experts celebrate 30 years of CDC's prevention research solutions for communities with health disparities
It has been 30 years since CDC created the Prevention Research Centers (PRC) Program, currently a network of 26 academic institutions across the US dedicated to moving new discoveries into the communities that need them.
More Public Health News and Public Health Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#540 Specialize? Or Generalize?
Ever been called a "jack of all trades, master of none"? The world loves to elevate specialists, people who drill deep into a single topic. Those people are great. But there's a place for generalists too, argues David Epstein. Jacks of all trades are often more successful than specialists. And he's got science to back it up. We talk with Epstein about his latest book, "Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at