Since its official opening in August 2018, MGM Springfield has not increased problem gambling in Massachusetts. The operator created more than 2,500 workplaces and brought millions of gambling and non-gambling revenue.
Problem Gambling in Massachusetts Has Not Increased, Says Study
New research by the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst found that two years after MGM Springfield opened, the economic benefits are at hand but problem gambling has not increased. The study conducted by SIGMA consisted of surveys with casino patrons, community residents, and MGM Springfield employees. The survey results were revealed earlier this week at the 2020 Public Research Day Webinar, titled “Springfield’s Two Years as a Casino Host: Looking Back and Looking Forward“.
The survey found out that MGM Springfield boosted the statewide economy and increased both job and educational opportunities diversifying the workforce. Furthermore, researchers have not found any increase in terms of problem gambling and at-risk gamblers.
“Lengthy exposure means harmful effects may have abated over time, even in a population that has experienced recent local expansion,”Rachel Volberg, principal investigator of the SEIGMA study
Rachel Volberg, principal investigator of the SEIGMA study and research professor in the UMass Amherst said that it appears that the Massachusetts population has already been exposed “as far as casino gambling is concerned”. She added that the population is far from naive when it comes to casino gambling.
Volberg outlined that the states surrounding Massachusetts such as Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York have had casino gambling for decades. According to her, this is one of the reasons why the harmful effects of gambling “may have abated over time” even though gambling in Massachusetts has expanded recently.
MGM Springfield Created Thousands of Workplaces
For the first years of operation, MGM Springfield created 2,583 new workplaces, and employees have received $82.2 million, outlined Thomas Peake, a senior research analyst at the UMass Donahue Institute. Furthermore, the survey found that spending “by the casino on wages and to vendors supported a total of 6,287 net jobs and $356.9 million in personal income“.
“MGM did do a good job of hiring locally and they hired quite a diverse workforce with a significant number of people who had been unemployed or underemployed previously,”explained Volberg
A key point that Peake raised was that the casino patrons did not shift their spending toward the casino and away from other Massachusetts businesses. Moreover, $66.3 million were spent off-site by visitors to MGM Springfield. Peake also outlined that one of the big findings of the survey are that 61.7% of the patron spending was new to the state. Those expenses would not have occurred had it not been for MGM Springfield, stressed Peake.
Focusing on the gambling revenue, the survey found that $259 million in gambling revenue at MGM Springfield was raised by out-of-state patrons. Referring to the period October 2018 – September 2019, this represents 42.5% of the gambling revenue. Also, some $83 million were spent by the patrons in non-gambling activities at the casino-resort. According to the report, MGM Springfield has paid a total of $110,1 million to the government entities.