(A PRESS RELEASE FROM UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS-DARTMOUTH.)
Massachusetts residents in 2011 continued their 19-year flirtation with New England’s gaming venues by spending nearly $909 million on gaming and non-gaming amenities at Connecticut's destination resort casinos and at the slot parlors in Rhode Island and Maine, and by making more than 7.1 million visits to those same facilities, according to an annual survey published by the Center for Policy Analysis (CFPA) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
The 2011 spending level (908.8 million) by Massachusetts residents was a 6-percent increase over 2010 Massachusetts spending levels ($857.2 million), the largest year-to-year increase in spending by residents of any New England state.
Overall spending by residents of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont also increased at the region's casinos and slot parlors, while overall spending by residents of Connecticut and Rhode Island declined.
The robust increase in spending by Bay Staters occurred during a year when Massachusetts officials debated gaming expansion and authorized the future licensing of three destination resort casinos and one slot parlor in the state.
Massachusetts residents also, for the first time, out-visited and out-spent Rhode Islanders at Rhode Island's two slot parlors --- Twin River and Newport Grand --- by making two million visits to those facilities, and spending an estimated $284 million, which is a 7-percent increase over 2010 spending levels.
Bay Staters generated more than $157.6 million in tax revenues to Rhode Island state government. Bay Staters accounted for 51-percent of Twin River's visitations and about 44-percent of Newport Grand's visitations.
This November, two binding referenda are scheduled in which Rhode Island voters will be asked to reject or approve the addition of table games at both Twin River and Newport Grand.
Bay Staters made 5.1 million visits, and spent $624.1 million at Connecticut's two casinos --- Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun --- a 1.7-percent increase over 2010 Massachusetts spending levels ($613.2 million). Massachusetts spending generated $86.9 million in tax revenues to Connecticut state government. Bay Staters accounted for 32-percent of Foxwoods visitations and 20% of Mohegan Sun visitations.
The two Native American casinos share 25-percent of slot machine revenues with Connecticut state government; however, based on the original Pequot Compact negotiated in 1992 by former Governor Lowell P. Weicker, the tribes do not share any table game revenues with state government. Table games provide about 30-percent of all gaming revenues at the two Connecticut casinos.
According to Dr. Clyde W. Barrow, Director of the Center for Policy Analysis, “gambling expenditures are slowly recovering, particularly among the residents of states with unemployment rates below the national average. With unemployment continuing to decline, private payrolls growing, and home prices stabilizing, it is likely that 2012 will mark the beginning of a recovery in the region’s gaming market.”
Since the CFPA began publishing its annual New England Casino Gaming Update in 2004, Massachusetts residents have spent over $8.7 billion on gaming and non-gaming expenditures at the region's casinos and slot parlors.
During that period, Bay State spending has directly generated over $2 billion in tax revenues to Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine state governments.
For a copy of the full report go to http://www.umassd.edu/seppce/centers/cfpa/ See Appendix A for expenditures by state and gaming venue.
(The New England Gaming Research Project is funded entirely by the UMass Dartmouth School of Education, Public Policy, and Civic Engagement.)