NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Researchers at UMass Amherst studied how casino gambling in Massachusetts affects the state’s lottery ticket sales. They found that during the first year since Plainridge Park Casino opened in June 2015, lottery sales did not decrease at all. But lottery sales near the Plainville slots parlor grew more slowly compared to the rest of the state.

Researchers pointed out that lottery revenues are the largest source of unrestricted local aid in the state, and the second leading source of all local aid. That is why the state made it a priority to protect the state lottery, even with incoming casinos.

Tom Burbine of South Hadley told 22News that he buys lottery tickets twice a week, and the number of casinos in the state won’t be changing that habit.

“People who like to gamble, gamble wherever you can gamble. Usually, I go down to Foxwoods to play poker, so if MGM is there, I’ll probably still buy lottery tickets, but I’ll also go down there and play poker and the slot machines,” Burbine said.

In 2015, total lottery sales in Massachusetts were $5 billion. $945 million of that was distributed to cities and towns as direct local aid.

The only casino in western Massachusetts, MGM Springfield, is set to open in 2018.