National Center for Responsible Gaming: 6th Annual Conference

9 November 2005

We are one month away from the National Center for Responsible Gaming's ("NCRG") annual conference. This year's conference is entitled "Finding Common Ground on Prevention, Treatment and Policy: The Reno Model" and will take place on December 7 and 8, 2005, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

At this sixth annual NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction, experts will explore a prevailing science-based strategic framework for responsible gaming. Published in the Journal of Gambling Studies, "The Reno Model" introduces principles to guide industry operators, health service providers, community groups, consumers and governments in the adoption and execution of effective responsible gaming programs. In addition this main theme, the event also will tackle topics such as responsibility for addictive behaviors, abstinence versus controlled-behavior treatments, harm reduction and learning from other addictions.

The NCRG website states:

"The challenge of responsible gaming is to develop a strategy that will prevent and reduce gambling-related harm and excessive gambling in particular, while respecting the rights of individuals who safely engage in recreational gambling. Specifically, the conference will explore this delicate balancing act by using the Reno Model as a point of departure. Developed by leading researchers from the United States, Canada and Australia, the Reno Model provides a framework for dialogue about this issue. The conference program will focus on two of the major principles of the Reno Model:

(1) Rigorous scientific research - not anecdotes, conventional wisdom or opinions - should be the foundation for practices and policies to address gambling disorders; and

(2) The health care community, academia, the gaming industry, government and others concerned with gambling and gambling-related problems must find ways to work together despite their differing and often competing interests."

The Conference will begin on Wednesday, December 7th with registration starting at 11:00 a.m. The Conference has two tracks: Track "A," Scientific and Clinical Track, and Track "B," Industry and Government Track. Therefore, the Conference is designed to provide information on responsible gaming for the medical community as well as for the industry and regulatory agency that govern the industry's operation.

Some programs offered at this year's conference include:

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Freedom of Choice and Addiction: The tragic consequences of addiction often lead us to question, who is to blame? Is the casino at fault when a victim of pathological gambling commits suicide? Is the public health system the culprit when inadequate care for the uninsured and untreated leads to drunk driving accidents? Is the individual who knew the risks of smoking responsible for his lung cancer? Where do we find, in a society that cherishes freedom and personal responsibility, the delicate balance between the rights and responsibilities of the individual versus that of government, business or the health care community? Senator George McGovern will address these issues from the perspective of not only a public policy maker but also as a parent whose own life has been impacted by addiction.

Track A - Scientific and Clinical Track

Finding Common Ground in the Patient-Clinician Relationship: Research has shown that the therapeutic alliance plays a significant role in treatment outcomes. This is an important issue for providers of addictive disorder health care who often face clients who are ambivalent about change or who have a history of treatment failure. Ed Khantzian will discuss what determines the quality of a relationship between clinicians and clients and what is especially significant for health care providers in the addictive disorders field.

Smoking and Substance Use Disorders: Lessons for Treating Gambling Disorders: Studies have shown that pathological gambling is highly co-morbid with mood, anxiety and other addictive disorders, especially alcohol and nicotine dependence. John Hughes has found that co-morbidity predicts smoking and smoking predicts co-morbidity. He will address the challenges confronting treatment providers when dealing with smoking and other addictive disorders, citing the treatment, outcome, research and possible implications for treatment of gambling disorders.

Track B – Industry and Government Track

Beyond Junk Science and Conventional Wisdom: Why Real Science is Vital to the Industry and Public Policy: Public understanding of problem and youth gambling is clouded by myths, outmoded ideas and inaccuracies promoted by junk science. Linda Cottler will review these myths in the light of research on the prevalence of the disorder. Frank Biagioli will relate how the Iowa Department of Public Health benefited from using academic researchers to evaluate its treatment program. Alan Feldman of MGM Mirage will address how the gaming industry can benefit from rigorous scientific research on gambling disorders and youth gambling.

Executive, Management & Employee Responsible Gaming Education ("EMERGE"): In 2005, the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders and the National Center for Responsible Gaming unveiled a new employee training program. Developed by Harvard Medical School faculty, the program provides a multi-layered educational experience based on the latest scientific research. This session will give participants an overview of the program, including sample materials.

Building Alliances: What we can Learn From the Alcohol Industry's Responsible Drinking Programs: Responsible drinking programs have had a significant impact in the United States due to the pro-active efforts of industry, advocacy groups and the nonprofit community. Additionally, the alcoholic beverage industry has spent years and millions of dollars on responsible drinking programs and social norms advertising. This session brings together the leaders in responsible drinking programming to share their ideas and experiences.

Implementing a Self-Exclusion Program: Logistical Challenges: Programs that allow individuals to voluntarily exclude themselves from gaming venues are springing up around the nation and the world. The simple concept of self-exclusion, however, is not so simple to implement. In a nuts and bolts session, the panelists will discuss how operators and regulators are dealing with the sometimes daunting logistical problems ranging from the maintenance of databases to security and legal issues.

The National Center for Responsible Gaming's annual conference is a must attend for industry operators and governmental officials involved with the oversight of the gaming industry. To learn more about the conference agenda and registration, visit or call 888-272-3251.

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National Center for Responsible Gaming 6th Annual Conference on Gambling and Addiction