The MGM Springfield Casino opened its doors in August 2018. The property cost nearly $1 billion to build and has been received well by city locals as well as tourists. However, it also looks like the casino is becoming a favorite of criminals, as recent data is showing crime has risen in the area around the casino. Some figures suggest crime has increased by as much as 300% since the casino started operations.
Crime Spikes 300% According to Some Data
The Massachusetts State Police reported 208 crimes being committed within the casino in the last few months of 2018. If we compare this to the state’s other casino, Plainridge, Springfield has a much higher crime rate. There were 115 incidents at Plainridge casino during the course of 2018, compared to the 208 in just a few months at MGM Springfield. MGM Springfield saw 16 robberies, five assaults, two sexual offences. There have been 120 arrests made in connection with the crimes.
The area surrounding the casino has also seen an increase in crime. Soon after the casino opened, there had been assurances that crime had not increased. However, the new data suggests otherwise. During the three months before MGM Springfield opened, there were 22 crimes reported in the area surrounding the property. In the five months following its opening, there were 115 reports. This equals an increase of nearly 300%.
Study Will Prove if Casinos are Bad for an Area
It must be noted though that the crime rate in Springfield was a lot higher than Plainridge before the casino opened as well. So, it is expected that the casino should suffer more numerous criminal acts. The increase in crime in the area surrounding the casino is far more concerning. Many times a casino is set to open, it faces opposition due to people believing it will bring numerous social problems to the area, like an increase in crime. Many politicians have always believed that the positives of a new casino outweigh the negatives. The MGM Springfield may give lawmakers a proper insight into this.
The state law that allowed for the construction of the MGM Springfield also directed the state’s gaming commission to make a note of numerous statistics in the city to create a baseline. These included statistics on crime, unemployment, property value, and more. As time goes on, the commission can study the changes to these figures in detail and determine if the casino has had an overall positive or negative effect on the city.