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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UMass: Researchers Release New Findings in Groundbreaking Gambling Study

University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts research team, led by epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Volberg, released new findings related to its groundbreaking gambling study. The Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC) study is the first major adult cohort study of gambling in the U.S., which examines gambling behaviors by surveying the same individuals over time. The study aims to uncover and understand populations at higher risk of experiencing problem gambling and gambling harm, and to support the development of effective and efficient treatment and prevention programs in Massachusetts.

The new report presented to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission at its meeting in Boston, covers “Wave 3,” a period from 2015 to 2016, before the state’s two large resort-casinos opened in August 2018 and June 2019.

“Although this report focuses on results from before the opening of MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor, we have already learned a great deal about how gambling problems among Massachusetts adults develop, progress and remit – information that will assist the Gaming Commission and the Department of Public Health in crafting the right mix of prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery services to effectively minimize and mitigate gambling harm in the Commonwealth,” Dr. Volberg says.

Dr. Volberg notes that people who gambled were unlikely to stop gambling over the three years surveyed so far. “That has implications for both prevention and treatment,” she says. Conventional substance abuse and gambling treatment programs, which typically require people to abstain from their problem behavior, may not be the most effective treatment model, the study’s data suggest.

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