Systemic issues such as poverty and cultural isolation contribute to Asian immigrants being drawn to casinos and problematic gambling — and casinos’ targeted marketing efforts exacerbate the issue, a new state report finds.

The report presented to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday includes a series of recommendations to solve the root causes of the problem and prompted one commissioner to suggest asking for American Rescue Plan Act funding from the Legislature to finance these new efforts.

The researchers found that Asian immigrants experiencing social and cultural isolation, poverty and high levels of stress turned to casinos for a sense of community and entertainment. They also noted that casinos targeted Asian communities through marketing campaigns and by placing transportation to the casinos in community hubs.

This report was authored by Asian CARES, a community research partnership funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to address problem gambling in different Asian ethnic communities. Field workers collected stories from 40 people impacted by gambling in Chinatown, Dorchester and Lowell. Nearly all the interviewees were immigrants and 50% had a high school diploma or less.

“Many go to casinos to gamble because it is easy to access, particularly because of the casino buses. Once at the casino, one doesn’t need to speak English and they can start gambling with just a few dollars,” said Dr. Heang Leung Rubin, a lead investigator for the study. “One Cambodian interviewee said, ‘The bus ferries you to a place where you are treated like a king. You don’t have to think about real-world problems.’”

Yoyo Yau, a licensed mental health counselor at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, said gambling can lead to financial ruin and domestic violence. She referenced the story of one woman interviewed for this report whose husband’s gambling addiction led to the loss of their family business and the end of their marriage.

Casinos also target Asian communities, said Ben Hires, chief executive of the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center. In addition to sending buses into predominantly Asian neighborhoods, Hires said, casinos bring in entertainment and games that appeal to Asian communities.

The researchers called for an equity audit into the advertising and responsible gambling programs at casinos to examine this issue. Other recommendations include investing in gambling prevention and intervention programs at community-based organizations, creating community gathering places to replace casinos and developing a workforce development program in immigrant communities.

“Massachusetts has the opportunity to become a leader in developing innovative solutions to address problem gambling by investing in community-based organizations,” Yau said. “Immigrant communities deserve a system that is responsive to their need and provide linguistic, culturally appropriate services.”

The commissioners committed to sharing the findings of the report with the Department of Public Health and the Legislature. Commissioner Bradford R. Hill also suggested the group appeal for funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to act on the recommendations, citing that gambling issues may have risen during the pandemic.

“And I would think that the funds should be used for something like this,” he said, “because I think that’s what the intent was when Congress passed these dollars, is what came out of the COVID-19 pandemic and how can we use these funds to help.”

Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said the commission would aim to share some additional thoughts on the report and plan next steps in an upcoming meeting. The next scheduled commission event is a Subcommittee on Addiction Servicesmeeting next Tuesday.

“I hope that this doesn’t end today,” Hill said. “As a former selectman, we did a lot of studies that ended up on bookshelves for decades and decades. I don’t want to see that happen with this report, and I don’t believe it will.”