Massachusetts And New Jersey Are Ushering Gambling Research Into A New Era

Written By Steve Ruddock on June 27, 2017 - Last Updated on October 8, 2020

[toc]New Jersey and Massachusetts are each trying to replace the speculation as well as self-serving talking points pervasive in the gaming industry. Instead, they are replacing them with research, data, and cold, hard facts.

Both of these states’ respective projects are breaking new ground and producing some very interesting results.

SEIGMA research covers a broad range of topics in MA

When Massachusetts joined the ranks of gaming states in 2011, the state ordered research into the economic impacts of expanded gambling. University of Massachusetts School of Public Health and Health Sciences is conducting the all-encompassing research. This is why the school set up the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts project, or SEIGMA for short.

Massachusetts is taking a unique approach to studying what happens when a community adds casinos. The research project began right after the state legalized casinos; several years before the first casino opened its doors. In doing so, Massachusetts was able to get multiple years of pre-casino data, giving it a baseline to work from.

The researchers look at everything from crime rates, to home values, to bankruptcies, to traffic and moving violations. Hopefully the effort will provide lawmakers and regulators with as much information as humanly possible. The ultimate goal is to create a solid understanding of gambling’s impact and determine what improvements could mitigate any of the negative aspects of expanded gambling.

Here’s a look at some of the research SEIGMA submitted to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission so far.

Rutgers research more focused on NJ online gambling

Following the legalization of online gambling in 2013, New Jersey mandated a multi-year research study to look at the impact. The duty to produce an annual report and recommendations fell on Rutgers University Center for Gambling Studies.

The Rutgers research is a bit more focused than what is taking place in Massachusetts. The emphasis is on the impact of online gambling on problem gambling. It also looks at the efficacy of the responsible gaming procedures that have been put in place at online gaming sites.

Here’s a look at some of the key findings and takeaways from Rutgers’ research into New Jersey online gambling:

Research will be key going forward

The research in Massachusetts and New Jersey represents a new way to approach gambling expansion.

Online Poker Report paraphrased, Mark Vander Linden, the director of research and problem gambling for the MGC, as saying the following at the National Council of Legislators From Gambling States (NCLGS) Conference in the summer of 2016:

Massachusetts’ late entry allowed it to learn from the state’s predecessors, see what did and didn’t work, and maximize the benefits of gaming while diminishing the adverse effects.

According to Vander Linden, these two things are not mutually exclusive, pointing out when adverse effects rise, the benefits of gaming tend to erode.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby often echoes Vander Linden’s remarks, citing the need to mitigate the negatives and enhance the positives of gambling.

SEIGMA’s and Rutgers’ research is helping their respective states do precisely that.

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Steve Ruddock

Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.

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