National Center For Responsible Gaming Approves Grant For Scientific Studies Of Pathological Gaming

Oct 31, 1997

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) recently approved a $120,000 scientific research grant to the Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience Research and Education, Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio. The grant will fund a two-year study that will use brain imaging and blood samples to determine if there is a biochemical basis for compulsive gambling.

The board of directors also announced that in December the Division of Addictions at Harvard Medical School will release its study of who is at risk for gambling disorders. Supported by a $140,000 grant from the Center, this groundbreaking project will produce the first reliable national estimates of the disorder among both adults and adolescents.

The recipients of the NCRG award at the Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience Research and Education will test their theory that low levels of dopamine-which has been linked to a variety of disorders including alcoholism and binge eating-may result in impaired cognitive functioning that explains compulsive gambling and the frequency of relapse for those in treatment. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter related to mood, attention and learning.

This is the second neuroscience research grant awarded by the NCRG in 1997. In August the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, received a grant of $160,000 in support of a two-year study, ‘The Genetics of Pathological Gambling.’ Researchers will look at DNA samples from pathological gamblers to examine possible genetic abnormalities in an effort to determine whether a particular gene predisposes some individuals to compulsive gambling.

The sponsorship of scientific research by NCRG is part of its long-term plan to develop and promote public education programs for problem and underage gambling. NCRG is a fully autonomous, unincorporated division of the Gaming Entertainment Research and Education Foundation (GEREF) that funds independent research that will provide a scientific basis for the development of prevention, education and treatment strategies for problem gambling.

‘The diverse research that will be conducted by many distinguished medical centers will answer fundamental questions about why a few individuals develop a problem with gambling, while the vast majority enjoy gaming as a recreational activity,’ said Major General Paul A. Harvey, chairman of the GEREF Board of Directors.

‘The award of these grants is an excellent first step in our examination of the nature of gambling-related disorders. Ultimately, we expect this research to help improve current diagnostic and treatment programs,’ said Harvey.

Established in 1996, NCRG is the first national organization devoted exclusively to funding research on problem and underage gambling. In addition to supporting the NCRG, GEREF’s mission is to raise awareness of and to develop and promote public education programs for the prevention and treatment of problem and underage gambling.