NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Spotlight on Research: Does Exposure to New Gambling Lead to Gambling Problems?

When states, provinces and local communities are considering introducing new forms of gambling, the “exposure” issue usually arises in public debates about the pros and cons of gambling. The conventional wisdom assumes that increased exposure to gambling opportunities will lead to an increase in the number of people with gambling-related problems. The validity of this assumption is usually unquestioned.

Alternatively, the “social adaption” model proposes that people exposed to new gambling opportunities may initially increase their gambling activities – whether with or without adverse consequences – but, eventually the population will adapt its behavior, leading to lower levels of gambling.

Until now, there have been few empirical studies to test this hypothesis. Dr. Robert Ladouceur, a professor of psychology at Laval University in Quebec, Canada, evaluated the impact of a new casino in Canada’s Hull, Quebec region. Ladouceur and co-author Christian Jacques, conducted a multi-year study on the gambling habits of individuals in that area. They surveyed participants one month before the casino opened, one year after its opening, and then again at the 2-year and 4-year mark. They found the results were surprising.

Ladouceur will discuss his research and its important implications for public health policy during the conference session Does Exposure to New Gambling Lead to Gambling Problems? A Case Study from Canada, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11. To access Ladouceur’s full study click here, or visit the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders’ NCRG Conference Resource Page. When prompted, please enter the case-sensitive password: institute.

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