AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) — UMass Amherst has been tapped by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to conduct a study on the social and economic impacts of casino gaming.
The $3.64 million study will start soon and last until about a year after the casinos are built. It will look at all the state’s casinos and the sole slot parlor.
It’s the first study of its kind focusing on gaming in the state.
Casino developers are promising to bring billions of dollars into Massachusetts, but many are wondering what else could come in as well.
“I am really curious the impact it would bring on the social life and culture around,” said Rachel Osborne, Northampton.
“If it really makes as many jobs as it says it’s going to,” said Matt Abelli, Amherst.
“How is it gonna increase the violence that’s prevalent in that city?” asked Gabrielle Duda, Easthampton.
UMass Epidemiologist Rachel Volberg is heading the study.
“It’s definitely a way to see how accurate their predictions and the predictions of all the experts that we have heard from over the last four to five year, how accurate those predictions are,” said Volberg.
She says the project will be able to track the attitudes about the casinos before their built. It’ll also follow a major concern some have with gambling addictions.
“So we will be able to look at prevalence at the state level at the regional level and at the community level as well,” said Volberg.
All results could then be used by the commission to deal with and manage any problems that could develop because of the casinos.
The study is a requirement of the state’s Expanded Gaming Act.