UMass study shows casino gambling hasn’t increased addiction

Hampden County

After it was announced MGM would be opening a casino in Springfield, some worried there would be increase in gambling addictions in our area.

In its first week of business MGM Springfield generated more than $9.5 million from gambling operations.

And we’re expected to welcome Wynn Resorts to the Boston area next year leaving some wondering how this will impact gambling addictions statewide. 

But new data shows the introduction of casino gambling in Massachusetts hasn’t led to an increase in gambling addictions.

Researchers at UMass Amherst released a study Thursday which found admissions for problem gambling treatment have continued.

The study also found that  these numbers continued to decline even after Massachusetts first casino, Plainridge Park opened in 2015. 

We wanted to learn the risk factors for becoming a gambling addict, so 22News went to the Gandara Center in Springfield to speak with a problem gambling specialist.

“Having an early big win, having a history of gambling in the home, family history alcohol and drug history,” said Massachusetts problem gambling specialist Chelsea Bryant.”They lose homes, cars, savings and then the devastation to the family.”

Bryant also told 22News about resources for gamblers at MGM Springfield, such as voluntary self exclusion. An addict can prohibit themselves from collecting earnings by signing a waiver. 

This study was launched in 2013 and is being called the most comprehensive attempt ever to look at economic and social impacts of casinos.

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