NCRG Awards More Than $545,000 In 2011 To Study Gambling Disorders

Jan 12, 2012

BEVERLY, MASS. – The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) today announced it has awarded $545,298 in 2011 to support new research projects that will help to improve methods of diagnosis, intervention, treatment and prevention of gambling disorders. Studies funded by these grants will focus on cutting-edge research using brain imaging, drug trials, social network analysis and brief interventions.

“With almost $165,000 more dedicated to NCRG-funded research than 2010, we are pleased to support these innovative, high-quality studies that help to put us one step closer to improved methods of diagnosis, intervention, treatment and prevention of gambling disorders,” said Christine Reilly, senior research director of the NCRG. “This funding will continue the mission of the NCRG’s research program by helping to increase the number of researchers working in the field of gambling disorders, encourage new investigators to explore gambling disorders and foster multidisciplinary collaboration.”

The NCRG’s 2011 grants were awarded for the following research projects:


  • T. Celeste Napier, Ph.D., from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Ill., was awarded $28,750 to identify the potential for repurposing the atypical antidepressant, mirtazapine, as a pharmacological intervention for reducing risk-behavior and/or relapse prevention of gambling disorders. The proposed experiments should also indicate if this drug may be useful for relatively brief interventions for persons with subclinical gambling disorders.


  • Adam Goodie, Ph.D., from the University of Georgia was awarded $172,487. This study will use a social network analysis (SNA) to investigate the role of a gambler’s social network in his or her gambling-related pathology. Dr. Goodie and his colleagues will use the NCRG grant to analyze how the gambling behavior, personality measures and substance use patterns of one’s social network impacts an individual’s gambling severity. This study will expand upon the pilot data collected as part of an NCRG-funded project that explored the roles of personality and substance use behavioral variables in pathological gambling.
  • John O’Doherty, Ph.D., from the California Institute of Technology was awarded $172,500 to investigate the nature of learning within the brain circuitry involved in response to rewarding and punishing events in patients diagnosed with pathological gambling. The researchers will study patterns of neural activity while pathological gamblers – and a comparison group of recreational gamblers – perform simple tasks in which they learn to make choices in order to obtain monetary gains and avoid losses. Dr. O’Doherty and his colleagues hope to learn what neurological factors are involved in responses to rewarding and punishing events among people with gambling problems.

In addition to offering awards in these categories, the NCRG awarded a research grant of $171,561 to Clayton Neighbors, Ph.D., from the University of Houston to develop and test an online screening and brief intervention (SBI) aimed at reducing gambling-related problems among college students. The SBI will be included, the NCRG’s online resource that was developed to help higher-education institutions and their students address gambling disorders and responsible gaming on campus.

Beyond its project grants program, the NCRG continues to support its Centers of Excellence in Gambling Research through multiyear funding. Established in 2009, the NCRG Centers of Excellence employ a long-term, institutional approach to conducting innovative and multidisciplinary research and education. Currently, the NCRG Centers of Excellence are located at the University of Minnesota and Yale University, and each of these institutions has been awarded $402,500 over a three-year period.

All research proposals are reviewed by independent peer-review panels of distinguished scientists in the field to ensure that only the highest quality research is funded. Funding decisions are made by the NCRG’s Scientific Advisory Board.

The NCRG will announce its 2012 research funding opportunities in the coming week. To learn more about project grants and research supported by the NCRG, To stay up-to-date on year-round educational opportunities and the latest news and issues in the field, visit the NCRG’s blog –Gambling Disorders 360°– and connect with the NCRG onFacebookandTwitter.