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Gambling In Massachusetts Has Not Had Negative Impact, Study Finds

Inside Plainridge Park Casino
Guests play slot machines at Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Massachusetts, U.S., on Thursday, July 16, 2015. Plainridge Park Casino was the first casino to open in state of Massachusetts after many years of political debate and losing potential revenue to neighboring states.
Shiho Fukada/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A new study has found that the slots parlor in Plainville, Massachusetts has not led to an increase in problem gambling or crime and has had economic benefits.

The in-depth report released Thursday, which was required by the state and conducted by UMass Amherst, looked at the effect the Plainridge Park Casino had on problem gambling, stress, crime and real estate values, among other things. It found that the slots parlor had no significant negative impact in these areas. The study also found that the casino has had no impact on real estate values or on local businesses, and that construction at all three casino sites in the state has been an economic plus.

"There has been a pretty significant impact in unrestricted local aid to towns and cities," said Rachel Volberg, associate professor at UMass Amherst and the study's lead author. Plainridge Park alone has accounted for close to $200 million dollars in aid to all Massachusetts cities and towns over the last three fiscal years, according to the state.

Volberg added the next major report coming out in a few years will have full data on Springfield and Everett and, among other things, will look at gambling's impact on lower-income residents, since there's evidence that it can hurt them disproportionately.

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