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

neutral database for analysis and decision-making, generate early detection markers of changes in social and economic impacts, promote responsible gambling and mitigate problem gambling through strategic services.

After the gaming commission has identified towns that will receive newly licensed casinos, over the next five years Volberg, Stanek and colleagues will use a variety of tools such as community and patron surveys, baseline demographic information, census and labor statistics and socio-economic indicators to collect information for their analyses.

These will include a very large (sample size 10,000) baseline survey of state residents before any licenses are granted, an online survey of 5,000 state residents, targeted surveys of residents within a 25-mile radius of each of the new gaming venues, and collection of secondary data such as labor statistics. The team will also formally evaluate problem gambling treatment services in Massachusetts. Looking at greater New England, they will assess formal treatment and in/outpatient programs available to problem gamblers and their families.

Volberg says Massachusetts' gaming act is unique in requiring an annual research agenda be carried out to help understand the social and economic effects of casino gambling on people and institutions and to minimize possible harmful effects, as the Bay State's statute does. It also establishes a Gaming Policy Advisory Committee to assist the commission in making yearly, scientifically based recommendations to the legislature to attempt to avert gambling problems or address them if they become apparent.

Commissioner Enrique Zuniga says of today's announcement, "This research mandate is an opportunity to create a nearly unique, comprehensive, longitudinal, academic-quality study and series of studies regarding the socio- and economic impacts of introducing expanded gaming to a governmental jurisdiction. All of the research will be designed to
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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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