SLU Researcher Leads Call for Action to Address Gambling Disorders

12/14/2017Media Inquiries

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 Scholars from more than 25 universities across the United States, including Saint Louis University, have issued a Gambling Call to Action Statement regarding the need for more research on gambling and its mental and physical health consequences.

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 Jeremiah Weinstock, Ph.D., an associate  professor of psychology at SLU is joining researchers from more than 25 universities, including Harvard and Yale, leading the push for expanded resources for gambling-related research and treatment. File photo

The action grew out of discussion following the October 1, 2017 mass shootings in Las Vegas when media reports suggested that the shooter exhibited behaviors suggestive of a severe gambling problem and that gambling may have been part of the shooter’s motivation for his crime.

At the time of the shooting, several of the leading scholars on gambling disorders  were in Las Vegas attending the National Center for Responsible Gaming’s 18th Annual Conference on Gambling and Addiction. Many of the conference’s sessions touched upon the same issues and themes the Gambling Call to Action Statement highlights, as these are long standing issues.

Legal gambling opportunities, both in-person and online, have expanded dramatically within the past 30 years and generate significant revenues for gambling operators, state and federal governments. Yet, the lack of resources devoted to study, treat and prevent gambling problems poses significant hurdles that only increase and perpetuate the human suffering associated with gambling disorder.

This letter is a collaboration led by Dr. Jeremiah Weinstock, an associate professor of psychology at Saint Louis University, and seeks to increase awareness and spur action by government and gaming leaders. Weinstock says resources for gambling-related treatments and research are sparse.

“Our public health systems and funding for gambling disorder research have not kept pace with the legalization and expansion of gambling across the U.S.," Weinstock said. "The problems associated with gambling disorder are extremely damaging not only to the gambler, but to their families and our society. Yet, the National Institutes of Health, one of the world’s leading medical research agencies, does not devote any money to studying the disorder and its treatment.”

The group is calling for three primary initiatives:

  • The federal government needs to programmatically conduct research regarding gambling and its mental and physical health consequences.
  • The federal and state governments and the gambling industry need to improve access to prevention, treatment and recovery services for gambling disorders. The points of contact for offering a range of services for gambling problems are underdeveloped.
  • For the gambling industry to make greater investment in identifying and validating responsible gambling initiatives.

Read the complete Gambling Call to Action Statement.

For more information, contact Jeremiah Weinstock, Ph.D., in the Department of Psychology at Saint Louis University at jeremiah.weinstock@health.slu.edu or (314) 977-2137.