Springfield Sees Surge in Crime after MGM Casino Opening
Crime spikes in the area surrounding Massachusetts’ first full-scale commercial casino, according to police data
There were two times more crime incidents at newly launched MGM Springfield than at Plainridge Park Casino, the WCVB 5 Investigates team reported citing numbers provided by the Massachusetts State Police.
MGM Springfield opened doors in late August 2018 to great fanfare. Las Vegas gaming and hospitality powerhouse MGM Resorts International spent nearly $1 billion on building the property that spreads across several blocks in the city of Springfield in Massachusetts.
MGM Springfield’s gaming floor features both table games and slot machines, while Plainridge Park Casino, which was launched in 2015 in Plainville, only features slot machines.
A recent report by the Massachusetts State Police showed that there were 208 incidents at MGM Springfield since it opened doors until the end of 2018. Those included five assaults, two sexual offenses, and 16 larcenies and robberies, among others. More than 120 arrests were made during the property’s first four months of operation. At Plainridge Park Casino, there were 115 incidents throughout the whole year.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is expected to release a comprehensive report on crime in and around MGM Springfield during its first months of operation in March. The regulator has previously committed to transparent reporting of crime in- and outside the state’s gambling venues.
Surge of Crime in the Area of MGM Springfield
5 Investigates said in an article from Thursday that it has joined forces with the School of Journalism at Northeastern University to review crime data from police reports and compile their own report on crime rate in the area of MGM Springfield.
According to the team of journalists, Springfield police had previously said that there was no growth in crime in the area outside the casino resort.
City data showed that there were 22 crimes in the area of the property in the three months before it opened doors in downtown Springfield. Following its launch, there have been 115 crimes reported by local law enforcement, data further revealed.
In stark contrast, there was no surge in crime in and around Plainridge Park Casino during its earliest stages of operation, according to multiple reports conducted in the months after the slots-only casino was launched in Plainville. Those initial reports were later on supported by more comprehensive studies.
MGM Springfield was the first full-scale commercial casino to open doors under Massachusetts’ revised gambling law from the early 2010s. Another integrated resort with Las Vegas-style gambling is slated to swing its doors open for visitors and guest this summer. Wynn Resorts is building the property in the city of Everett in the Greater Boston area.
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