New report reveals possible health effects of a casino - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

New report reveals possible health effects of a Springfield casino

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A report outlined by Partners for a Healthier Community outlines a number of potentially negative impacts to Springfield residents if a casino is built.

The study conducted by the Western Mass Casino Health Impact Assessment found a number of negative impacts and benefits to a casino in Springfield.

It was done early so work on the negative impacts can begin immediately.

Increased air pollution is likely, they say, with an increase in traffic.

More cars means increased risk for car accidents, injuries and fatalities.

The study found that more alcohol-related crime may increase with likely access to free alcohol while gambling.

The study anticipates crime could actually decrease with the number of additional state police that will be located on casino premises per the Gaming Acts requirements and MGM's detailed security plans. If crime increases, the study anticipates it won't rise more than 10 percent.

People surveyed are concerned about the criminal element a casino would bring to Springfield and the type of crime associated with gambling, like prostitution and loan sharking.

Data from a survey conducted last year as part of the CDC funded Springfield Community Transformation grant found that about one-third of participants don't feel safe walking alone during the day in their neighborhoods. More than half don't feel safe walking alone at night.

A number of positive impacts of a casino are anticipated as well. The study found the more local hiring the casino does, the greater the positive benefits to the community are. The study says MGM is planning to hire almost half of its employees from the Springfield area.

The study admits it is challenging to predict how a casino would impact Springfield due to differences in design and the type of casino. They used public health principles and their best judgment to identify potential risks and benefits.

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