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Massachusetts Gamblers Embrace Illegal Gambling, Shun the Legal Stuff

If you’ve ever it seemed like Americans prefer illegal sports betting over regulated online betting, congratulations you had it right all along.

Even better, the big brains at the University of Massachusetts recently conducted a study that backs up that claim.

The study was conducted by the UMass School of Public Health and Health Sciences found that Bay State residents like to gamble.

A full 72% of the study’s 10,000 participants reported having gambled in one form or another over the past year. Most of that action, however, came in the form of lottery scratch tickets, though about 40% said they gamble every week.

What probably won’t be too pleasing to Massachusetts lawmakers is that nearly 13% of the folks interviewed for the study had recently participated in sports betting. About 2% of those folks were wagering online and only 6% were engaged in legal betting such as bingo and horse racing.

If you’re concerned about problem gambling, it looks like Massachusetts’ rate of out-of-control bettors is in line with the national average (under 2%) and that’s something the state will be watching very closely.

The legislation that paved the way for legal gambling in the state also mandates that UMass will be in charge of tracking problem gambling rates to watch for wild fluctuations. By the looks of things, that’s information that’s probably best harvested from the bookie down the street.

UMass will also be examining the economic impact of legal gambling on the state. In that matter, Mass residents are more or less in agreement with 59% saying that regulated gambling will be positive for the state.