Center of Excellence: Optimising voluntary engagement with technology-based tools to prevent and reduce gambling harms

In 2022, the ICRG released a call for proposals inviting investigators to explore interventions to prevent the negative consequences associated with gambling, including impacts on the gambling of players who gamble in a problematic manner. The following year, the ICRG awarded a Center of Excellence Grant to Dr. Sally Gainsbury at the University of Sydney. Reflecting the multi-disciplinary approach of the Center grants, Dr. Gainsbury and collegues will create a Centre for Excellence in Gambling Research (CoEGR) within existing research centers focusing on gambling treatment and harm prevention research (psychology, Gambling Treatment & Research Clinic), understanding how gambling harms contribute to social and economic disadvantage over the lifetime (economics, ARC Life Course Centre), how to prevent gambling and other addictions among young adults (public health, Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use), and the role of technology in problematic behavior (multidisciplinary Technology Addiction Team, Brain and Mind Centre). As such, the new CoEGR will focus on conducting cutting edge investigation of gambling behavior and interventions and translating them to inform policies and practices to minimize gambling harms while building research capacity. The objectives of the first three years will be to investigate low voluntary engagement with responsible gambling tools and ways to enhance this through technology-based targeted interventions for vulnerable subgroups.

Their research methods are multidisciplinary and include working with large datasets provided by online gambling operators of customer behavior over a 12-month period and pre-and post-interventions, self-report survey responses linked with objective behavioral data from online gambling operators, and qualitative research using co-design to develop interventions likely to be effective in targeted groups (e.g., young males).

The potential benefits of the outcomes from this program of research for reducing gambling harms are clear. The center will identify groups who appear to be at the greatest risk of experiencing gambling harms and determine how to identify these groups via their behavioral patterns in online account data, improve the understanding of how to engage these groups with preventative interventions and current barriers, identify the most effective ways of communicating with at-risk gamblers to encourage positive behavioral change in the form of voluntary consumer protection tool use and determine whether mandating the dissemination of activity statements is an effective harm reduction strategy.

This Center of Excellence in Gambling Research is supported by a grant from Bally’s Corporation.

Year: 2022
Type: Centers of Excellence