The International Center for Responsible Gaming is pleased to honor Dr. James P. Whelan with the 2022 ICRG Scientific Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to the field of gambling disorder.
Whelan’s career, spanning three decades, has exemplified connecting research with practice, not only expanding the knowledge base of gambling disorder but also helping inform relevant clinical practice and raising awareness for the general public. His many achievements in research include the development of The Gamblers’ Belief Questionnaire, The Gambling Self – Efficacy Questionnaire and the Gambling Timeline Followback—all impactful instruments in the field. Beyond academia, his work has led to casino companies seeking his assistance in developing responsible gambling policies. The American Gaming Association invited Dr. Whelan to join the Responsible Gambling Collaborative to help craft the AGA’s Effectiveness Principles.
Whelan’s commitment to public awareness of gambling disorder began with the establishment of the Gambling Clinic, an outpatient gambling treatment center which he co-founded in 1999. He co-created an evidence-based treatment guide for a brief gambling intervention, which has helped more than 1,200 of those with gambling problems successfully make change. Most recently, he worked on passing the Tennessee Education Lottery Bill, creating a statewide safety net for those with gambling difficulties. Perhaps the crown jewel of his outreach efforts has been the “Control the Troll” brand. Whelan recruited an inter-disciplinary team of advertising and marketing professionals to help develop a wide-ranging dissemination campaign throughout the Mid-South, reaching thousands through billboards, television commercials, health fairs and presentations.
Finally, Whelan’s mentoring of young scientists has made a long-lasting contribution to the field of gambling studies. Notable alumni have continued their own work in gambling, such as Jeremiah Weinstock, Tim Steenbergh, Ryan May, Rory Pfund, Sam Peter and Meredith Ginley. The future of gambling studies is brighter because of Whelan’s outstanding mentoring of young scientists.