In Massachusetts, an official year-long study has found “no significant causal relationship” between a rise in certain crimes and police activities and the opening of the Plainridge Park Casino in the town of Plainville.
The Public Safety Impact Report was conducted by Christopher Bruce, a consultant for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and established that the inauguration of the Norfolk County slots-only parlor and harness racing track in June of 2015 had led to crime and call figures “commensurate” with similarly-sized facilities.
The 50-page study analyzed public safety data from the communities of Plainville, Attleboro, Mansfield, North Attleboro and Wrentham as well as information provided by the Massachusetts State Police from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, and revealed that the facility owned and operated by Penn National Gaming Incorporated had produced crime and emergency call rates similar to those seen at non-gambling facilities such as shopping malls or entertainment complexes.
While the investigation acknowledged a slight increase in calls to police, it declared that the majority of these related to traffic activity complaints such as collisions and suspicious vehicle reports while disclosing that the overall crime rate around Plainridge Park Casino had actually decreased.
“It has produced some increases in traffic-related activity, the types of increases that you would expect with any major facility of that size and drawing that much traffic to the region, but there’s been no indication so far that it’s caused an increase in any crimes or other detrimental social harms in the area,” said Bruce, who has also worked for the Cambridge Police Department.
The study moreover explained that economic crimes such as credit card fraud had risen but that there was no evidence to suggest that this was in any way due to the opening of Plainridge Park Casino in June of 2015.
“A large increase in burglary in North Attleborough was attributed to two local serial offenders, both heroin addicts, with no casino-related motives,” said Bruce.
Bruce stated that additional studies will be completed for comparison after 2017, which could be around the same time the $950 million MGM Springfield from MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Limited’s $2.1 billion Wynn Boston Harbor developments open.
“In the first year of operation at Plainridge Park Casino, analysis indicates that most changes in public safety data are proportional with non-gambling facilities of similar size,” said Bruce. “I hope this public safety analysis continues to provide important information that local police departments will deem helpful and can utilize to assist with the development of effective data-driven strategies.”