New casinos don't encourage gambling addiction - research

The University of Massachusetts in Amherst reveals the results of a 6-year study. As it turns out, new casinos do not always contribute to the development of gambling problems.

The research was commissioned by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). A group of researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst led the pioneering study of the Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC). Its goal is to better understand how gambling addiction develops.

The study involved 3000 people. By dividing them into “waves,” the researchers regularly interviewed the same participants. The people who took part in the study were divided into four different categories. The categories included non-addicted players, gamblers, at-risk players, and problem gamblers. Of the 3000 participants, approximately 70% identified themselves as gambling enthusiasts.

When asked what caused the addiction, 30.2% of the problem players responded that it was a desire to win. About 21.4% of them said the problem was caused by boredom, pleasure, or excitement. 9.3% of people who identified themselves as problem players denied having a problem.

The study found that the emergence of new casinos does not necessarily affect the level of addiction to gambling. Addiction to gambling remains a problem, but test subjects showed a stable category of non-gamblers.

By opening new gambling establishments, the state was able to repatriate the money that Massachusetts residents used to spend on out-of-state gambling. Besides, the emergence of a casino did not negatively affect participation in lotteries.

Katie Judd-Stein, chair of MGC, said this is the first study of play behavior of this magnitude in the United States. The study not only helps to understand the behavior of gamblers in Massachusetts but also contributes to similar research around the world.

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