Industry First Gambling Study Follows Gamblers Through Years of Gambling

There is no shortage of gambling industry studies. While most studies seek insights into gambling habits to maximize profits, one major study is surveying for a far greater range of results. An industry first, the began before Massachusetts legalized casinos, and follows gamblers through years of gambling.

Researchers at UMass Amherst are playing the long game. They want to know what gamblers go through over time, from before gaming became widely available to the changes they experience years into the habit. The study is entirely unique in that it is the first to begin in a market before casinos became available.

Known as the MAGIC study – Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort Study – it is focused on watching trends and following the individual narratives of gamblers as the state industry develops around them. The structure is modeled after long-term studies such as the Framingham Heart Study that demystified cardiovascular disease.

Around 3,000 residents are participating in the cohort study that began back in 2013, a full two years before the first slots parlor opened in the state. In the coming year, Massachusetts will see the opening of its first resort casino, MGM Springfield, followed by the opening of Wynn Boston harbor in mid-2019.

Researchers plan to follow the study participants for a full decade, though lead researcher Rachel Volberg is hesitant to set an end date. The study has cost around $3 million so far. Volberg says it has already provided valuable information for the state and gaming industry, and the data will only get richer the longer the study continues.

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