MGC Receives Public Safety Impact Reports After Eight Months of Full Operations at Encore Boston Harbor

During a remote public meeting on March 25, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) was presented with Public Safety Impact Reports analyzing changes in police data after eight months of full operations at Encore Boston Harbor.

A legislative mandate requires the MGC to carry out an expansive and groundbreaking research agenda to understand the social and economic impacts of gambling in the Commonwealth, including the relationship between gambling and levels of crime.  

MGC consultant and crime analyst Christopher Bruce conducted public safety research and analysis, building upon analysis from prior baseline reports and follow-up public safety reports related to Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield.

The public safety report for Encore Boston Harbor reflects the property’s first eight months of operations, along with three months of closure for COVID-19, and three months of restricted reopening in 2020. Encore Boston Harbor drew more than 3.5 million visitors during its first eight months of operations, and the study concluded that the facility’s overall effect on crime numbers in the region is “commensurate with a facility of that size hosting that many visitors.”

Related to Encore Boston Harbor, Mr. Bruce said, “In the surrounding areas, various crimes increased and decreased.” Mr. Bruce further noted, “Few patterns and trends so far have shown any direct casino ties, but this report flagged a handful for future monitoring.”

A summary of findings from the Public Safety Impact Report for Encore Boston Harbor:

•Overall violent, property, and total crime were within expected ranges for the region and most cities individually.

•A preliminary analysis of drunk driving evidence suggests that the casino may be responsible for a “small number” of drunk drivers on the road, with Encore Boston Harbor listed as the “last drink” location by seven drunk drivers adjudicated in 2019-2020.

•The immediate areas around the casino showed few increases in crimes or calls for service. The major exception is an increase in traffic complaints in neighborhoods to the north and east of the casino, which could reflect patrons parking on local streets when the garage is full.

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