Researchers, Casino Execs Talk Problem Gambling

11 December 2002

LAS VEGAS – As reported by the Associated Press: "The quality of gambling research and funding for it must be increased significantly if effective treatment and preventive programs are to be developed to counter the growing problem of gambling addiction, public health experts said Tuesday.

"`I'm concerned about gambling as a potential public health hazard,' Howard J. Shaffer, director of Harvard Medical School's Division on Addictions, said.

"Shaffer and other experts said it was most important that the roots of all addiction, including gambling, be reconsidered with a critical scientific eye.

"Research money is needed, they said, to help eliminate the junk science that has influenced gambling-related health issues for the worse.

"…Questions of addiction and treatment brought more than 300 of the most respected academics, researchers, public health gurus and gambling industry officials in North America together for a three-day conference at The Mirage hotel-casino.

"…The event was sponsored by the Harvard Medical School's Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders, the National Center for Responsible Gaming and the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.

"The three-day conference, which concluded Tuesday, could be the beginning of a more focused effort to formulate a cohesive and uniform health policy to address the rise of gambling that now exists in some form in 48 states, officials said.

"…Shaffer said that gambling as a health issue has taken on added importance because it has become so widespread.

"…Researchers also suspect that people might be genetically predisposed to gambling.

"…Alan Feldman, an MGM Mirage spokesman who also sits on the National Center for Responsible Gaming's board of directors, said the industry is committed to funding future research…"

Related Links
National Center for Responsible Gaming 3rd Annual Conference on Gambling and Addiction