Lisa Cheban | 13 September, 2023 14:06 | Last update on: 13 September, 2023 14:06
The University of Sydney has set up a centre committed to enhancing the study of gambling behaviour and minimizing harm related to this pastime activity. The International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG) donated $600,000 towards the establishment of the Centre of Excellence in Gambling Research (CoEGR).
According to the University, Professor Sally Gainsbury, a recognized leader in gambling psychology research, will serve as the director of CoEGR. This department will bring together numerous academics from a range of disciplines, including:
- Public Health
One of the main functions of CoEGR will be to partner with leading gambling operators in Australia to collect data and enable researchers to conduct live trials. The University of Sydney says this will allow the centre to test the effectiveness of interventions that foster positive behavioural change. CoEGR’s primary goal is to turn its research into actionable, evidence-based measures that help prevent and lessen gambling-related harms.
Commenting after accepting her appointment to lead the centre, Professor Gainsbury said this collaboration with gambling companies would allow CoEGR to overcome previous challenges and create room for new and effective gambling research outcomes.
“The operators will share de-identified data on gambling behaviours and allow us to evaluate new interventions, giving us a unique opportunity to create a dataset with a high level of detail on gamblers,” she added.
Professor Gainsbury is the founder and executive director of the Technology Addiction Team and the Gambling Treatment & Research Clinic director. At CoEGR, she will team up with the following names:
- Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark – School of Economics
- Professor Agnieszka Tymula – School of Economics
- Associate Professor Daniel Gozman – Business School
- Dr Louise Thornton – The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use
Professor Gainsbury added that the centre’s main objective is to employ a consumer-centric approach to reducing problem gambling. She confirmed that CoEGR will use varying ways to tackle critical problems and consult gambling individuals to create practical “real-world” solutions.
She continued: “Currently most gamblers do not seek treatment until they have reached a crisis point. We want to improve preventive interventions and encourage positive habit change at early-stages of harms developing using communication strategies and consumer-focused tools.”
The University highlighted Professor Gainsbury’s earlier research, which found that 4% of adults in Western countries suffer from gambling-related problems. Her research also revealed that 1% of adults engage in disordered gambling, with less than 10% seeking professional help.
“We are thrilled about the opportunities that the Centre of Excellence in Gambling Research presents thanks to the multi-year funding from the International Centre for Responsible Gaming,” Gainsbury said.
CoEGR will be integrated within the University’s existing support structures to ensure a holistic and all-inclusive approach to resolving gambling-related disorders. This includes:
- The Brain and Mind Centre
- The Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic
- The Technology Addiction Team
The research capacities of CoEGR will receive additional financial support from the University of Sydney to boost its operations. The funds will let postdoctoral economists and psychologists do more profound research into gambling behaviour and its effects on society.