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Massachusetts launches gambling study, believed most comprehensive to date
Date:5/9/2013

AMHERST, Mass. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) today announced that it has selected a University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS) research team to perform a comprehensive, multi-year $3.64 million research project, believed to be the first of its kind, on the economic and social impacts of introducing casino gambling in Massachusetts. It will focus particularly on problem gambling, but also examine a wide array of social and economic effects of expanded gambling in Massachusetts.

Funding is expected to start with a one-year contract followed by a three-year extension. Epidemiologist Rachel Volberg and biostatistician Edward Stanek will lead the multi-disciplinary, multi-phase study for UMass Amherst. Volberg has studied gambling and problem gambling, which affects an individual's personal, family and work life as an addiction, for more than 25 years. She is the author of the 2001 book, "When the Chips are DownProblem Gambling in America."

She says, "Only a handful of institutions are carrying out gambling research worldwide. With this sweeping new initiative, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will change the intellectual landscape and knowledge base about gambling over the next three to five years. No other jurisdiction has undertaken such a comprehensive study prior to introducing casino gambling, and none has worked to collect social and economic indicators as the casinos became operational. Our results will be freely available to other researchers and state commissions, who can then begin their own appropriate studies. This is going to create a very important database resource for stakeholders in Massachusetts and elsewhere."

The state Expanded Gaming Act requires that the commission establish an "annual research agenda" to understand the social and economic effects of expanded gaming in the Commonwealth. The UMass Amherst project will create a monitoring system to provide a
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Contact: Janet Lathrop
jlathrop@admin.umass.edu
413-545-0444
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Source:Eurekalert

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