NCRG Launches Nation's First Centers Of Excellence In Gambling Research At Yale And University Of Minnesota

Institute for Research on Gambling Disorders to Oversee New Centers

May 14, 2009

WASHINGTON—The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) today announced the creation of the nation’s first NCRG Centers of Excellence in Gambling Research at Yale University and the University of Minnesota. The Centers of Excellence will employ a long-term, institutional approach to conducting innovative and multidisciplinary research and education programs about gambling disorders. The research grants for the Centers of Excellence were awarded and will be managed by the Institute for Research on Gambling Disorders, an independent program of the NCRG formerly known as the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders.

“In 1996, the NCRG launched the first competitive grants program in the U.S. to fund research into gambling disorders, so the creation of the new Centers of Excellence is consistent with the organization’s pioneering legacy of supporting the highest-quality research in this field,” said Glenn Christenson, chairman of the NCRG. “This marks a true evolution in our approach to funding research, one we are confident will contribute to seminal findings on gambling disorders in the years ahead.”

To date, the NCRG has supported research on gambling disorders primarily through a long-term, grant to the Division on Addictions at Cambridge Health Alliance totaling more than $7 million since 1996 and through smaller project-based grants to researchers around the world. These projects will continue to receive funding from the NCRG. The creation of the Centers of Excellence marks an expanded commitment by the NCRG and the Institute to advance research on gambling disorders by increasing the number of institutions that receive significant, multiyear grants and promoting sustained and collaborative research on gambling disorders.

“We are entering a new era in the field of gambling research, in large part thanks to the significant, groundbreaking work conducted by Dr. Howard Shaffer and his research team at the Division on Addictions. After more than a decade of grant-making and the considerable progress that has been made in the study of gambling disorders during that time, it is clear to us that supporting long-term, multidisciplinary research is a critical component to advancing the field,” said Christine Reilly, executive director of the Institute for Research on Gambling Disorders. “We are proud to support the new Centers of Excellence in addition to our ongoing support of the Division on Addictions, the competitive grants program and a variety of education efforts to increase understanding of gambling disorders.”

The Centers of Excellence were chosen by an independent panel of peer reviewers. Each Center will receive a three-year grant for a total of $402,500 to perform the proposed research. The multidisciplinary research program at each Center of Excellence will focus on basic questions about gambling addiction and be directed by a principal investigator who is a recognized expert in the field of gambling disorders.

Led by Dr. Marc Potenza, the Center at Yale University will examine the various factors that influence treatment of gambling disorders. The investigators will conduct a placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial to investigate whether the drug naltrexone will be effective in a “real-world” clinical setting. The Center at the University of Minnesota, under the leadership of Dr. Jon Grant, will develop a model of impulsivity that will enable the identification of young adults at risk for developing pathological gambling. Understanding who is susceptible and why will help lead to effective interventions for prevention and treatment. In addition, both Centers will conduct innovative, science-based public education programs.

The Institute for Research on Gambling Disorders is charged with all of the grant-making responsibilities for the NCRG. In addition to acquiring a new name, the Institute recently moved from its home at Cambridge Health Alliance to an independent office in Beverly, Mass., to provide more comprehensive oversight of the grants to the Centers of Excellence and the Division on Addictions, as well as independent project grants awarded to researchers throughout the world. Executive Director Christine Reilly previously served as the executive director of the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders from 2000 through March 2009, and as executive director of the NCRG from 1997 through 2000.

More information about the new NCRG Centers of Excellence in Gambling Research is available on the Institute’s Web