After a December study found that the opening of the Plainridge Park Casino had not led to an increase in crime, a similar year-long investigation has now reportedly concluded that the Massachusetts venue has also not adversely affected state lottery sales.
According to a report from the MassLive.com news portal, the most recent study was conducted by researcher Rachel Volberg from the University Of Massachusetts Amherst in partnership with Mark Nichols, an economics professor at the University Of Nevada Reno, and presented to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission earlier this week.
“An analysis of lottery revenues one year after the opening of Plainridge Park Casino shows that, on average, lottery revenues have not decreased state-wide or nearer the casino, whether this includes designated surrounding communities or agents within various driving distances,” read the study.
Plainridge Park Casino, which is owned and operated by Penn National Gaming Incorporated and offers some 1,250 slots, opened in Norfolk County near the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border in June of 2015 and additionally features several machines selling lottery tickets.
The investigation reportedly found that lottery revenues in the nearby city of Attleboro as well as those from the neighboring town of Mansfield increased following the opening of Plainridge Park Casino although takings from the area communities of Foxborough, North Attleborough and Wrentham fell.
“However, lottery revenues for agents nearer the casino grew more slowly on average than the rest of the state, read the study.
MassLive.com reported that Massachusetts Lottery sales hit $5 billion in 2015 with $945.8 million going to the small eastern state’s cities and towns. As part of an effort to repeal expanded gambling legislation that permitted the building of up to three resort casinos alongside one additional slots-only facility, gambling opponents in Massachusetts argued that the lottery’s sales could take a hit.
“We will continue to monitor lottery sales to determine if the first-year results reflect longer term trends and whether the much larger casinos planned for Everett and Springfield will have similar or different impacts on lottery sales in the Commonwealth,” read the investigation.
As part of the expanded casino legislation, MGM Resorts International is hoping to open its $950 million MGM Springfield project in the autumn of 2018 while Wynn Resorts Limited plans to inaugurate its $2.1 billion Wynn Boston Harbor Resort in the Boston suburb of Everett during the first few months of 2019.
“Whether [Plainridge Park Casino] had differential impacts on communities or is the source of variation in lottery revenues cannot be definitively determined as variation in lottery revenues may stem from other factors,” read the study. “Moreover, the result is not indicative of what may happen when casinos in Everett and Springfield open, both of which will be larger casinos with more non-gambling amenities.”