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NCRG Launches University Research Centers

The National Center for Responsible Gaming last month 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 multi-disciplinary 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, multi-year grants and promoting sustained and collaborative research on 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 multi-disciplinary research program at each Center of Excellence will focus on basic questions about gambling addiction, and will 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.

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