One of the main arguments used by opponents of expanded gambling can be put to rest thanks to a report from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
The commission released a report last week that showed there was no link between a large increase in crime and the addition of a casino to a locale. The report studied the time period leading up to and after Springfield added an MGM property to its city.
“Only a few crimes increased in surrounding agencies during this period,” read the report. “While some of these increases have possible links to MGM, there is no general consistency across the surrounding agencies and very little definitive proof of a casino connection among specific offenders.”
The crimes that the commission believes could be linked to the casino’s addition include a small increase in drunk driving, an increase in shoplifting at 24-hour facilities in the immediate area of the casino, and an increase in traffic complaints.
There were other trends that were found, including increased shoplifting, purse snatching and residential burglary in certain areas, but the commission was unable to find a direct link to the casino since the arrested offenders in most of these cases were not tied to the casino in any way.
Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno told Reminder Publishing that “overall crime was down” for the duration of the study and that the casino creates “direct positive effects and spinoffs for Springfield.”
Last October, the University of Massachusetts released a study that showed the same casino in Springfield didn’t lead to an increase in problem gambling.
MGM Springfield was the first full-scale Las Vegas-style casino in the state after doors opened in 2017, making it the most likely choice for researchers to study as it will have the most data to pull from. The state’s second Las Vegas-style casino, Encore Boston Harbor, opened two years later in the summer of 2019.