Health Equity Research Lab


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Dharma Cortés, PhD co-authors report "Casinos and Gambling in Massachusetts: African-American Perspectives"

In collaboration with researchers at John Snow, Inc., HERLab Senior Scientist Dharma Cortés recently co-authored a report on characterizing the concerns and perceptions regarding gambling and casinos among African Americans in Massachusetts. This report contributes to the body of literature around gambling, mental health, and urban development.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • Life context: Participants described their communities as impoverished, lacking employment opportunities and needed social services to address mental health and substance abuse problems (4).

  • Help-seeking behavior: Shame and stigma deter individuals experiencing problem gambling from seeking help or accessing and utilizing services (5).

  • Mixed views on casinos in MA: Casinos are viewed positively because they have the potential to create new jobs and other economic opportunities. On the other hand, negative aspects associated with the presence of casinos relate to concerns that already exist within the participants’ communities: crime, drugs, gentrification, and the dissolution of community ties (5).

To read the report submitted to the Director of Research and Responsible Gaming for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, click HERE.