Responsibility in gambling?

The Grand National spurs over a third of the adult population of the United Kingdom into having a flutter making it the country's single biggest gambling event. However, even with the recent boom in internet gambling, problems with gambling are often overlooked.

Problem gambling is the subject of a new research venture funded by Economic and Social Research Council in partnership with the Responsibility in Gambling Trust (RIGT). Funding worth around £920,000 over a three year period has been awarded to six projects researching the impacts of gambling on those involved as well as the broader implications for society.

Robin Burgess, Director of RIGT, states "Problem Gambling has a profound effect on not only those involved but the wider community around them. This funding, as well as building the research capacity in this field, will help us to understand why people become involved in gambling, how people learn to control their addiction, and how we can prevent people from becoming Problem Gamblers."

Projects, which are just beginning, will look at a range of issues including social contexts for problem gambling; how the distinction between problem and non-problem gambling is made; internet gambling; gambling-related brain responses in social and problem gamblers; impacts of gambling on family life as well as how young and vulnerable gamblers can be deterred. The research being funded has been chosen for its direct applicability to policy and practice in a neglected area. These studies will inform the way services are commissioned and how policy is formed.

"The ESRC is very pleased to be collaborating with the RIGT on this initiative. The studies proposed are of high quality and relevance, offering great potential for our understanding of harm related to gambling and how society can respond through regulation and the development of services," says ESRC Chief Executive, Professor Ian Diamond.

The six projects funded through this venture include:

  • Dr Gerda Reith and colleagues at the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Centre for Social Research, for a sociological study of routes in and out of problem gambling. Dr Reith has written extensively on the social, cultural and historical aspects of gambling, as well as the impacts of problem gambling
  • A team at Goldsmiths, University of London, for an anthropological study of betting in bookmakers and a study of Chinese community betting. The main author, Dr Rebecca Cassidy, has previously published widely on horseracing.
  • University Of Cambridge, for an MRI scanning study to identify brain responses to gambling tasks, especially near misses. Professor Trevor Robbins and Dr Luke Clark, who are leading this study, are world leaders in MRI scanning for compulsive behaviours.
  • At University of Cardiff, Dr Stephanie Van Goozen and Dr Simon Moore will lead a multi-disciplinary study of the associations between deviant youth and impulsivity and lack of control to gamble
  • Led by Dr Robert Rogers, a team at Oxford University will study internet gambling including personality traits and risk of on-line gamblers
  • Professor Gill Valentine and colleagues at Leeds University for a study of patterns of play and harm in families about internet gambling.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Or Alexandra Saxon or Annika Howard at ESRC on 01793 413032/413119

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The ESRC is the UK's largest funding agency for research and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. It provides independent, high quality, relevant research to business, the public sector and Government. The ESRC total expenditure in 2005/6 is £135million. At any time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and research policy institutes. More at http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

2. ESRC Society Today offers free access to a broad range of social science research and presents it in a way that makes it easy to navigate and saves users valuable time. As well as bringing together all ESRC-funded research (formerly accessible via the Regard website) and key online resources such as the Social Science Information Gateway and the UK Data Archive, non-ESRC resources are included, for example the Office for National Statistics. The portal provides access to early findings and research summaries, as well as full texts and original datasets through integrated search facilities. More at http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

3. RIGT - the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, exists to fund research, treatment and educational work about problem gambling. Our aim is to reduce the impact of problem gambling on society. Funded mainly by the UK gambling industry, but completely independent of it, RIGT seeks to ensure that people at risk of gambling problems are educated about problem gambling and that people affected by problem gambling get access to help and advice. Our main role is to commission treatment for problem gamblers through organisations like GamCare and Gordon house. RIGT also commissions education programmes and sponsors independent academic research into all facets of gambling behaviour to aid the development of policy and services. In May 2006, RIGt will be launching a new searchable on-line database of leading research into problem gambling. For details of this, and RIGT's other programmes, including other research funds, see www.rigt.org.uk.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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