NCRG Conference to Examine Addiction Syndrome

24 November 2004

The fifth annual National Center for Responsible Gaming ("NCRG") Conference on Gambling and Addiction is scheduled for December 5-7, 2004, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This year, the conference has an overall theme of "Gambling and Addiction: Shared Causes, Managing Consequences." The conference will highlight recent research that challenges common perceptions about addiction - suggesting that individual substance abuse and behavioral disorders (such as problem gambling) might be different expressions of the same underlying "syndrome."

"The concept of an addiction syndrome has significant implications for academics and healthcare professionals, as well as representatives from the gaming industry and government," said Dr. Howard Shaffer, director of Harvard Medical School's Division on Addictions. "Looking at the shared causes of addictive behaviors prompts us to consider new ways of studying and treating pathological gambling and related addictive disorders, which could lead to more effective treatment strategies at the clinical level, as well as better informed responsible gaming activities in the gaming community."

This year's conference offers a unique opportunity for gaming industry and government representatives to engage in dialogue with the world's leading scientific and clinical professionals. The conference will focus on new addiction research and the implications for managing the consequences of disordered gambling and other addictive disorders. The conference will feature two distinct conference tracks aimed at examining advances in research and treatment, as well as practical applications for gaming industry members, gaming regulators, attorneys and elected officials.

This year's "Scientific and Clinical" conference track will feature cutting-edge research on gambling and other addictive disorders. Discussion topics include the causes of addictive disorders; drug treatments for gambling and substance use disorders; treating co-occurring disorders; and addiction in the age of terrorism and stress. Featured speakers include Dr. Shaffer; Robert Ladouceur, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Laval University; and Lisa Najavits, Ph.D., director of the Trauma Research Program in the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Program at McLean Hospital, among others.

A parallel group of sessions in a "Government and Industry" track will include topics ranging from understanding gambling and its potential health consequences to health risks for casino employees, problem gambling issues in tribal casinos, challenges of operationalizing the AGA Code of Conduct, regulating gaming and its potential health consequences in a global economy, and more. Some featured speakers in this track include Timothy Hinkley, president and COO of the Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc; Peter Dean, chairman of the Gaming Board of Great Britain; and Nelson Westrin, vice chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission.

To allow individuals to select the program elements most appropriate to their needs, conference participants will be free to attend sessions from either track. Additionally, the conference will offer several plenary sessions open to everyone.

As part of the 2004 conference, the NCRG will also hold its third annual Scientific Achievement Awards program to honor outstanding contributions to the study of gambling and gambling-related problems. Two recipients will be honored at the awards ceremony: The Young Investigator Award will recognize an individual for excellence in scientific contributions to the field of gambling during the first 10 years of his or her post-doctoral career and the Senior Investigator Award will honor an investigator whose body of work has advanced the field of gambling-related research.

For more information on the conference, visit NCRG's web site at

Related Links
Michigan Online Gambling
Nevada Online Gambling
National Center for Responsible Gaming 5th Annual Conference on Gambling and Addiction
MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas Details