Gambling Disorders 360°

Exploring the latest news, issues and research relating to gambling disorders and responsible gaming

Issues & Insights

New Research on Minorities and Gambling

by: Declan T. Barry, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine | Feb 1, 2011

Gambling and gambling related problems are common among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, but there is new evidence that African Americans are more likely to experience gambling-related problems than white Americans. Differences in problem and pathological Gambling (PPG) among people of different races are not well understood. A better understanding of gambling behaviors, gambling problem severity and other psychiatric disorders associated with PPG in minority populations could benefit gambling prevention and treatment programs. For this reason we have devoted the February edition of Issues & Insights to new research on the differences in gambling behavior and PPG between black and white Americans.

A recently published study by Dr. Declan Barry and colleagues (Barry, Stefanovics, Desai, & Potenza, 2011) analyzed data from The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), the largest prevalence study of psychiatric disorders in the United States (Petry, Stinson, & Grant, 2005). Dr. Barry and co-authors compared black and white respondents on measures of gambling behavior, PPG, mental health, and the co-occurrence of mental disorders and gambling. In the following interview, Dr. Barry clarifies and expands on the findings in his recent paper. 

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NCRG Awarded $380,466 in Research Grants in 2010

by: Christine Reilly | Jan 1, 2011

The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) recently announced it awarded $380,466 in project grants in 2010 for five new research projects on topics ranging from a laboratory simulation of Internet gambling to an intervention for college students at risk for developing gambling problems. The recipients of these grants are investigators based at the University of Florida, Duke University, Southern Illinois University, the University of Missouri and the University of Minnesota.

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New Trends in Research: Motivational Interviewing for Gambling Addiction

by: Christine Reilly | Dec 1, 2010

Recovering from addiction is all about changing one’s behavior. Anyone who has tried to diet, quit smoking or get off the couch and exercise knows that changing behavior can be very challenging. It is especially true for individuals struggling with an addictive disorder. To assist people with changing their abuse of alcohol and drugs, specialists in addiction have developed motivational interviewing (MI), a widely disseminated clinical approach that uses a directive, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence about changing the addictive behavior (Miller & Rose, 2009). The development and testing of the original concept was led by William R. Miller, Ph.D., Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Mexico.

Research has shown successful outcomes when MI is employed by alcohol and drug counselors. But what about disordered gambling? This month’s Issues & Insightswill focus on the origins of motivational interviewing, its principles and how David Hodgins, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Calgary in Canada, is testing this approach with disordered gamblers.

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Institute Announces Posters Selected for the 2010 NCRG Conference

by: Christine Reilly | Sep 30, 2010

Research on genetics, Texas Hold’em, decision-making, college gambling and using videogames in the treatment of gambling disorders are just a few of the intriguing topics of this year’s posters that will be presented at the 2010 NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction.

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The Internet Gambling Debate: Is Research the Missing Ingredient?

by: Christine Reilly | Sep 18, 2010

The “Room for Debate” section of The New York Times recently posed the question,“Should Internet gambling be legalized?” Several respondents identified an increase in gambling addiction as the probable outcome if Congress lifts the current ban on online gambling in the United States (“Should Internet Gambling,” 2010; Chan, 2010). The belief that the easy access and social isolation of Internet gambling make it an especially risky behavior has become conventional wisdom. However, the question remains: are these concerns based on speculation or scientific research? Missing from The New York Times debate were the perspectives of scientists currently investigating the behaviors of Internet gamblers. A recent article in Addiction Research and Theory by Howard J. Shaffer and colleagues, “Toward a Paradigm Shift in Internet Gambling Research,” offers a comprehensive look at the research conducted to date, including summaries of their own investigations of the gambling patterns of customers of bwin, one of Europe’s largest online gambling companies (Shaffer et al., 2010).

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Issues & Insights Explores Self-Exclusion Research

by: Institute Staff | Aug 6, 2010

Self-exclusion is one of the most widely used responsible gaming strategies. These programs allow individuals to literally “exclude” themselves from a gaming venue as a way of dealing with problematic gambling behavior. Scientific research on the safety and effectiveness of self-exclusion is just now catching up to the establishment of such programs, which began more than a decade ago.

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Looking Back: Perspectives on Changes in the Field of Research on Gambling Disorders

by: Donald W. Black, Adam S. Goodie, Harold Wynne and Anneke Goudriaan | Jun 3, 2010

The recently proposed changes to the definition of pathological gambling for the next edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) prompted us to think about the dizzying pace of change within the field over the past 30 years.

In this month’s Issues & Insights, four researchers reflect on the progress of the field by answering the question, “What has been the most significant change in how scientists look at disordered gambling over the past 30 years?” Their conclusions range from the inclusion of pathological gambling in the DSM-III in 1980 to advances in understanding the neurobiology of disordered gambling behavior. All agree that there have been tremendous advances in the field in the past three decades. You can read their full comments in June’s Issues & Insights.

What do you think has been the most significant change in gambling research during the past 30 years? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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Testing Responsible Gaming Strategies

by: Lia Nower, J.D., Ph.D. and Alex Blaszczynski, Ph.D. | May 3, 2010

Responsible gaming programs are intended to prevent or reduce potential gambling-related harms (Blaszczynski, Ladouceur, & Shaffer, 2004). Examples of such programs range from brochures about disordered gambling to helping gamblers keep track of money wagered through “smart cards.” But are these programs effective? A recently published study by Drs. Lia Nower and Alex Blaszczynski, “Gambling Motivations, Money-Limiting Strategies, and Pre-commitment Preferences of Problem Versus Non-Problem Gamblers,” demonstrates that rigorous scientific research is vital to determining the effectiveness of a responsible gaming strategy. This study also shows that such investigations have to consider the motivations of gamblers who get into trouble and the viability of the program – in this case, the use of smart cards – in real-life gambling situations.

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Redefining Pathological Gambling: New Research Highlights

by: Christine Reilly and Institute Staff | Apr 4, 2010

The American Psychiatric Association currently is in the process of updating the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to its fifth edition (DSM-V). The DSM is the handbook of mental disorders in the United States, used daily by health care providers, researchers, insurance companies and government agencies. The DSM-V Work Group that reviewed the diagnosis for pathological gambling has proposed several changes to the diagnostic definition of the disorder. Revisions in diagnostic codes are typically driven by evolving research that transforms our understanding of a disorder, and so this month’s Issues & Insights summarizes several studies that question the current definition of pathological gambling and, in some cases, might inform the final recommendations for the DSM-V.

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Brief Interventions for Disordered Gambling in College Students

by: Nancy M. Petry, Ph.D., and Jeremiah Weinstock, Ph.D. | Mar 1, 2010

March Madness refers not just to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s basketball tournament, but also to the uptick in gambling activity that ranges from office pools to betting online. An increased awareness during this time of year about gambling on college sports usually leads to questions about gambling by college students. Consequently, we have devoted the March edition of Issues & Insights to new research on college gambling.

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