Springfield to receive grant to combat youth gambling harm

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Springfield to receive grant to combat youth gambling harm

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has voted to award the City of Springfield a grant aimed at addressing gambling-related harm among youth.

Springfield will receive $275,000 from the Commission’s Community Mitigation Fund (CMF), which provides grants to help communities manage costs associated with the construction and operation of gaming facilities.

Since its inception in 2015, the CMF has allocated $48 million to support initiatives in transportation, community planning, workforce development, and public safety.

The Springfield grant will be used to fund research to better understand the factors contributing to problem gambling among young people, which will inform future prevention and treatment efforts.

The commissioners announced their decision to award the funding at a public meeting on Thursday.

Interim Chair Jordan Maynard in a press release on Friday, said:

Understanding the gambling-related harms experienced by young people will have a direct impact on strategies developed to prevent and mitigate those harms in the future. Collaborating with engaged young people in Springfield will help researchers and the Commission fully understand the impacts of gambling on this population and lead to additional programs designed to mitigate potential harms.

The research funding will specifically explore digital storytelling and crowdsourcing. The Commission explained that digital storytelling is a qualitative research method involving group workshops where participants create digital stories, empowering them to narrate their experiences.

Helen Caulton-Harris, Commissioner of the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services, said:

Digital storytelling can provide a safe space for participants to share their experiences and narratives around challenging topics like gambling. This will provide a space that values lived expertise from marginalized communities to share their own stories.

The Commission hopes that the Springfield grant and research initiative will become a model for other communities facing similar challenges.

Established by the state as an oversight agency for gaming establishments, the Commission boasts the most comprehensive regulator-supported research program in the country.