Encore Boston Harbor is preparing to open its retail sportsbook soon but that’s just one part of its business. The Massachusetts casino received some new feedback from members of the local community to consider as it moves forward.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has published a community perspectives report related to Encore. The comments came from residents of Everett, MA and other communities along with former employees.
The comments detail both criticism and praise for the gambling facility.
Encore Boston Harbor report lays out community opinions
According to the Gaming Commission’s report, researchers conducted 47 virtual interviews with a diverse array of people in small group settings. Nearly half of the people who took part in the interviews lived in the Everett area for at least a decade.
Among the aspects of diversity that the interviewees represented were age, gender, and preferred language. Additionally, the participants brought mixed feelings about the existence of legalized gambling in Massachusetts.
Some held a decidedly negative opinion about it while others brought in a more positive view or indifferent sentiment. That mixed bag spilled over to the various aspects the researchers sought interviewees’ opinions on.
Negative and positive reviews for Encore
Overall, the feedback contained both high and low notes for the casino. Specific areas of the review included the casino’s impact on:
- The local job market
- Housing costs in the area
- Small businesses around Everett
- Environmental factors
- Criminal activity
- Social dynamics
- Resident quality of life
- Problem gambling incidence
As an example of the mixed feedback, respondents shared their sentiments that the casino “brought more beautiful landscapes, parks, and recreational spaces to the area.” At the same time, though, they felt the traffic the casino creates results “in longer commute times and increased congestion.”
There were some thoroughly negative areas of focus, too. Among those were beliefs that the casino’s presence has escalated criminal activity in the area. And it’s increased the number of people in the region who struggle with pathological gambling issues.
At the same time, the report doesn’t just unload a ton of feedback on the casino. The researchers also compiled recommendations for Encore on how to improve its standing in the community.
What Everett residents would like to see from the Massachusetts casino
The report details three main recommendations from the interviewees. Those are:
- Greater investment from Encore into community infrastructure and programs
- More resources for people dealing with compulsive gambling problems
- Increased community engagement from the casino
The casino now has the task of consuming this feedback and formulating plans to respond. With the Massachusetts Gaming Commission aware of the comments, some action to address them should be forthcoming.