Iaga/iagr Session On “The Science Of Gaming Regulations”

On Tuesday, Oct. 12, the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) hosted a session for regulators and advisors at the2010 International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA)/International Association of Gaming Regulations (IAGR) International Conferencein Washington, D.C. The session, titled, “The Science of Gaming Regulations: Testing the Effectiveness of Regulations Designed to Reduce Gambling-related Harms,” featured a panel of experts who discussed the importance of scientific research in the development and evaluation of international gaming regulations designed to reduce gambling-related harms.

During his introduction, Kevin Mullally, NCRG board member and general counsel and director of government affairs at Gaming Laboratories International, Inc., noted that regulators and advisors often are responsible for developing and enforcing programs in their jurisdictions to help minimize gambling-related harms. Research on gambling disorders, he said, can help inform these programs by analyzing the impact and effectiveness of different approaches. By using science as a guide, future programs and efforts can be more effective.

The first presenter was Christine Reilly, executive director for the Institute for Research on Gambling Disorders. She discussed the work of the NCRG and the Institute, and the importance of scientific research in the areas of responsible gaming and gambling disorders. She emphasized the need to rely on “real science” (peer-reviewed studies with a scientific methodology that acknowledges limitations) versus “junk science” (biased studies often driven by advocacy in which the ends justify the means) to inform responsible gaming programs.

Dr. Simon Planzer, a lecturer in law at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, an attorney in Zurich, a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School and a visiting scholar at the Division on Addictions at Harvard Medical School, discussed a new study he is conducting in conjunction with Harvard Medical School that is examining the impact of gambling regulations in Europe on the prevalence of disordered gambling. Results of the study are forthcoming.

Dr. Robert Ladouceur, a professor emeritus of psychology at Laval University in Quebec City, presented the 10 rules for creating effective responsible gaming programs. The rules included the need to specify the target population, to indicate objectives, to establish length of the program, to set a realistic budget, and to advertise the program. He concluded that the intention to be responsible is not sufficient; instead, it is important to evaluate programs to ensure they are meeting desired goals and to make changes as necessary.

For more information, please contact Christine Reilly atcreilly@gamblingdisorders.org. As always, we welcome your thoughts and questions in the Comments section below.

NCRG staffResearch Updatedisordered gamblinggaming regulationsHarvard Medical SchoolKevin Mullallynew researchresponsible gamingRobert Ladouceur