Pathological Gambling Report Released

Report Finds National Research Council and National Center for Responsible Gaming in Agreement

Mar 18, 1999

Washington, D.C.,—March 18, 1999—Released by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences today, ‘Pathological Gambling,’ validates the work of the National Center for Responsible Gaming. The NCRG is the only national funding center for peer reviewed scientific research on disordered gambling. The executive summary of the NRC report was presented to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission and concluded that more rigorous research is needed to prevent and treat pathological gambling.

NCRG Executive Director Christine Reilly said that the ‘National Research Council report confirms the NCRG’s efforts to bring higher scientific standards to research on disordered gambling and it is gratifying to learn that our leadership has identified the same concerns as one of the most prestigious academic bodies in the nation.’

The NCRG agrees with the following points in the executive summary of the NRC report:

  • The limitations of current screening instruments indicate the need for more research and testing. The NCRG is funding the type of research that will eventually provide a gold standard by which to measure the accuracy of these instruments.
  • The strong familial factors observed in disordered gamblers show the need for genetics studies. The NCRG is currently funding three research projects on the role that genetics play in the development of the disorder.
  • Estimates of the prevalence of disordered gambling among the general adult U.S. population are in the range of 0.9% -1.5%. The NRC estimates prevalence rate of disordered gambling 0.9% prior year and 1.5% over the course of a lifetime. The NCRG-funded Harvard Medical School study (1997) estimates a 1.29% prevalence rate among the adult population.
  • A higher rate of disordered gambling is found in the youth population. The NCRG is currently supporting five research investigations of youth gambling.
  • Treatment programs should be evaluated rigorously. The NCRG is currently supporting clinical trials of cognitive therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and drug therapy.
  • Past research on disordered gambling is of ‘limited scientific value.’ Consequently, the NCRG uses the rigorous standards of the National Institutes of Health to evaluate research proposals.

The NCRG, an independent nonprofit (501 C 3) organization affiliated with the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has awarded a total of $2.5 million in research grants since 1996.