SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Communities near Plainridge Park Casino have seen an uptick in crime since the slots parlor opened in June 2015.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s preliminary review found an increase in drunk driving, car accidents, and credit card fraud. While they say much of it does not appear directly related to the casino, there’s some concern about the possible impact once MGM Springfield opens.
One Springfield resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told 22News, “With all of the drug crime and everything else that’s already happening in Springfield, and all of the murders and everything, I think them putting the casino up is going to cause more.”
More kidnappings were also reported, but experts attribute that to parental custody disputes. Prostitution also increased, and was attributed to problematic incidents at neighboring hotels.
The crime analysis expert who the MGC hired for this review cautions more research is needed to determine any direct links to the casino.
The Springfield Police Department says security measures for MGM Springfield are still in the planning stages. Sgt. John Delaney told 22News officers will patrol the casino and downtown area 24/7.
“I feel comfortable with that,” says Terry Jackson of Springfield, “but I’m also thinking about what may happen with people that can’t afford to gamble, and it’s right in their own backyard. So I think there will be some other issues.”
Springfield police plan to set up kiosks on main street, while maintaining coverage in neighborhood sectors.
The State Gaming Commission’s planing a more in-depth analysis this fall.