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Sheriff outlines gambling survey on eve of Encore opening

Peter J. Koutoujian, sheriffSheriff Koutoujian

UPDATED, June 23: The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has announced the completion of a data-collection effort on gambling involving individuals entering the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction just before casino gambling at Encore in Everett opens.

Read the full survey results here >>

The survey was launched in 2016. The anonymous, eight-question poll has received more than 5,000 voluntary responses over three-plus years. It was developed after reviewing several existing surveys, including one used by the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health and Health Sciences for its 2015 report titled "Gambling and Problem Gambling in Massachusetts: Results of a Baseline Population Survey." Read it here >> 

“Our goal is to be able to compare this baseline data with future survey results to gauge the impact, if any, of expanded gaming on our community,” Sheriff Peter Koutoujian said in a June 22 news release. “Our hope is that this information will guide law enforcement, policy makers and industry leaders in measuring the impact, but also the resources and government response needed to best position our county to ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens.”

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office survey conducted between January 2016 and this month revealed that just under 20 percent of respondents reported they gambled, compared to slightly more than 70 percent of the state’s general population, cited in the UMass report.

“With the introduction of expanded gaming in the Commonwealth, it is crucial to establish the level to which those in our custody are involved in gaming,” said Koutoujian, “because just as substance use, mental illness, homelessness and educational deficiencies can contribute to incarceration – so too, can gambling. Understanding who is in our custody and the underlying factors that lead them to us is critical to enhancing public safety.”

The survey also found that slightly more than 18 percent of respondents indicated their most recent betting experience involved either lottery tickets or Keno, compared to about 1.3 percent for casino or online gambling.

However, those who cited casinos (table and/or machine) as their most recent betting experience reported spending an average of $15,193 on gambling-related activities in the last year, while those who indicated lottery tickets were their most recent method of betting spent an average of $103. 

This news announcement was published Saturday, June 22, 2019, and updated June 23, to add link to full survey results.

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