NCRG Annual Conference Expands In Size And Scope

Conference Add New Programs: 2nd Annual Scientific Achievement Awards Will Honor Oustanding Contributions in Disordered Gambling Research

Jul 9, 2003

Washington, D.C. –The National Center for Responsible Gaming’s (NCRG) annual conference, approaching its fourth year in December, has enhanced the size and scope of its program to appeal to gaming industry executives, gaming regulators, attorneys and elected officials.

With previous conferences geared primarily to academics and health care professionals in the addictive disorders, the 4th Annual NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction, scheduled for Dec. 7-9 in Las Vegas, will now offer a comprehensive, practical agenda for a government and industry audience, in addition to its historical program for the scientific and academic community.

“The expansion of the NCRG annual conference is part of an overall initiative to enhance the Center’s educational programs and reach new audiences,” explained Dennis Eckart, NCRG Chairman. “There is a vast amount of worthwhile information about disordered gambling issues that needs to be disseminated and shared beyond the scientific community. By expanding our conference to the gaming industry and government, we are, in essence, creating a whole new educational tool.”

The 2003 NCRG conference, themed Regulating Addiction: How Individuals, Groups and Institutions Manage Excessive Behaviors, will offer a new “Government and Industry” track, primarily geared toward the gaming industry, gaming regulators, attorneys and elected officials. Topics will range from worldwide responsible gaming practices, to harm minimization features on gaming machines, self exclusion programs, state-funded treatment programs and gaming regulations. A sample list of speakers includes Alex Blaszczynski, Ph.D., Head of Department and Chair in Psychology, University of Sydney; G. Thomas Baker, President and CEO, International Game Technology; Kevin Mullally, Executive Director, Missouri Gaming Commission; John Wilhelm, Member, National Gambling Impact Study Commission and President, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union; Scott Scherer, Member, Nevada Gaming Control Board; Jon Kelly, Ph.D., CEO, Responsible Gaming Council (Ontario); Philip G. Satre, Chairman, Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc.; and Dennis Eckart, former six-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives and NCRG chairman.

The “Scientific and Clinical” track, co-sponsored by the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders at Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addictions, will be of special interest to clinicians, treatment providers and researchers in the field of problem gambling and substance use disorders. It will include such topics as self-guided therapy for problem gamblers and drinkers, how individuals regulate problems with alcohol and weight, and the role of 12-step programs in regulating behaviors. Presenters will include world-renowned scientists and researchers, including Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., C.A.S., Director of Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addictions; G. Alan Marlatt, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle; Anne M. Fletcher, M.S., R.D., L.D., author and medical journalist; Henry Wechsler, Ph.D., Director, Harvard School of Public Health, College Alcohol Studies Program; Linda Sobell, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Director of Clinical Training, Center for Psychological Studies, Nova Southeastern University; and Mark Sobell, Ph.D., Professor, Center for Psychological Studies, Nova Southeastern University.

Conference participants will be invited to attend sessions from either track, allowing individuals to select the program elements most important to their needs. Additionally, the conference will offer several plenary sessions open to everyone, including a “Town Hall” meeting, and topics such as gambling from a public health perspective, the latest research on gambling and alcohol at U.S. colleges, and alcohol prevention models.

As part of the 2003 conference, the NCRG will also hold its second annual Scientific Achievement Awards program to honor outstanding contributions to the study of gambling and gambling-related problems. Two recipients will be honored at the awards ceremony: The Young Investigator Award will recognize an individual for excellence in scientific contributions to the field of gambling within the past 10 years; and the Senior Investigator Award will honor an investigator whose body of work has advanced the field of gambling-related research. The NCRG recently distributed an international request for nominations for these prestigious awards (visit for more information). The deadline for all nominations is Sept. 15, 2003.

The 4th Annual NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction will be held Dec. 7-9 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Visit to view the full conference program.

Founded in 1996, the NCRG was the first national organization exclusively devoted to funding peer-reviewed, scientific research on pathological and youth gambling. The NCRG’s mission is to be the leading source of science-based research and information on gambling and health, advancing education, prevention, treatment and public policy. To date, the casino industry and related businesses have committed more than $12 million to this effort, and the NCRG has issued more than $6 million in support of groundbreaking research on gambling disorders. In 2000, the NCRG established the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders at Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addictions, the world’s preeminent medical research institution.