The Massachusetts Gaming Commission announced Thursday that it has selected a University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences research team to perform a comprehensive, multi-year $3.64 million research project.
This project is believed to be the first of its kind that will focus on the economic and social impacts of introducing casino gambling in Massachusetts.
The primary focus of this project will be problem gambling, but it will also examine a wide spectrum 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 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 Down; Problem Gambling in America.
Volberg issued this statement Thursday:
"Only a handful of institutions worldwide are carrying out gambling research 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."
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