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US – Lottery sales at Plainridge Park Casino haven’t affected state lottery

By - 11 May 2018

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who are conducting a comprehensive, multi-year study known as the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA), presented a two-year analysis of state lottery revenue after the second year of operation for Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Massachusetts.

Passed in November 2011, the expanded gaming law regarded the protection of the state lottery as paramount and required all casino operators to be licensed lottery agents.

The report found that there was no large, significant decline in lottery revenue can be attributed to Plainridge Park Casino and that no obvious pattern between lottery sales growth and proximity to the casino was detected.
In the first year after the opening of Plainridge Park Casino, lottery sales in Plainville increased approximately 25%. Sales have remained at that level in the second year of operation. Sales for other agents in Plainville have not notably declined since the opening of Plainridge Park Casino. Compared to the year before the casino opening, gains in lottery sales in Plainville have been sufficient to offset declines in the surrounding communities, leaving sales mostly unchanged, but not matching gains in rest of the state.

MGC Commissioner Enrique Zuniga said: “The Legislature wisely prioritised the protection of the state’s highly successful Lottery by requiring casinos to support and enhance its performance. It is gratifying to learn from the research that this strategy appears to be working as Plainridge Park Casino continues to contribute to a significant increase in lottery sales in Plainville.” Zuniga added, “As of December 2017, Plainridge Park contributed almost $164 million in state taxes allocating 82% ($134 million) to local aid to the benefit of 351 cities and towns, and effectively offsetting any potential decline in lottery sales and associated impact to local aid.”

“Statewide lottery revenue grew 4.3 per cent in fiscal year 2016, a time period that nearly corresponds to the first full year of operation of Plainridge Park Casino, which opened June 24, 2015. In fiscal year 2016, lottery sales established an all-time sales record. In fiscal year 2017, however, statewide lottery sales declined 2.6%. Lottery sales for the Town of Plainville increased 25% in the year after the casino opened relative to the prior year and remained at that level in the second year. This increase is due to increased lottery sales at Plainridge Park Casino,” the new report states.

Massachusetts has one of the largest lotteries in the country, both in per capita terms and in absolute terms. As a result of its success, lottery revenues are the most significant source of unrestricted local aid in Massachusetts and the second largest source of all local aid. In fiscal year 2017, the lottery’s net profit was $1.039bn, a historic high, of which $958m was distributed to the Commonwealth’s municipalities in the form of direct local aid. Plainville, the host community for Plainridge Park Casino, received $729,447 from the lottery and other direct local aid sources.

“Compared to the year before the casino opened, increased lottery sales in Plainville have offset decreased sales in the surrounding communities leaving lottery sales overall essentially unchanged in the area,” said the report’s primary author Mark Nichols.

The UMass Donahue Institute is a member of the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) project team that has been charged with carrying out targeted research for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

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