Gambling Research and Industry Funding

Abstract

This paper discusses the relationship between investigative credibility and the sources of funding associated with gambling research. Some researchers argue against accepting funding from gambling industry sources; similarly, they decline to participate in activities directly or indirectly sponsored by gambling industry sources. In contrast, these anti-industry investigators evidence less resistance toward accepting funds from sources other than industry, for example, governments, because they believe that they have greater independence, reliability, and validity, and less undue influence and/or interference. We organize this article, around six primary issues: (1) researchers making a priori judgments that restrict positions towards industry associated research; (2) the potential negative impacts of holding such a position; (3) a description of the different sources of funding available to support gambling-related research; (4) an examination of the extant empirical support associated with the sources of funding and whether such support evidences bias; (5) a description of six cases illustrating how refusing to participate in any project funded by the industry can adversely influence the advancement of science and, at times, be itself unethical; and finally, (6) we suggest some remedies to advance solutions to this problem by stimulating the participation of reluctant researchers to work towards a greater harmony, keeping in mind that the pivotal goal of our work is to increase our knowledge in different area of science and to harness it to public goods.

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Correspondence to Peter Collins.

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Conflict of interest

Peter Collins is retired and receives no funding for gambling-related research. As Director of the Centre for the Study of Gambling at the University of Salford, UK, (Retired 2010) his work was funded by the UK casino and betting industries. As Executive Director of the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation (Retired 2013) his work was funded by the South African gambling industries. Howard J. Shaffer received funding from a variety of sources, including the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations via the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Indian Health Services (IHS), the Integrated Centre on Addiction Prevention and Treatment of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals—which receives funding from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, DraftKings, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In addition, during approximately the past 5 years, Shaffer or the Division on Addiction received funding from National Center for Responsible Gambling, National Institutes of Health, the Alcohol Beverage Management Research Fund, the Danish Council for Independent Research, Heineken USA, Inc., bwin.party, St. Francis House, the State of Florida (i.e., as a subcontract to Spectrum Gaming Group), the Massachusetts Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Grant Program (i.e., as a subcontracted evaluator for Worcester House of Corrections), and the Massachusetts Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Program—as a sub-contracted evaluator for Cambridge Police Department). Dr. Shaffer also has received speaker honoraria and compensation for consultation from the American Psychological Association, Las Vegas Sands Corp., Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg, LLP, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, LLP, the New England School of Addiction, and from the Dunes of Easthampton, a residential addiction treatment program, for serving as a consultant. Regarding this project, he received reimbursement from Laval University for travel expenses, but no honorarium associated with the international group on responsible gambling. Robert Ladouceur: During the preparation of this manuscript, Robert Ladouceur has received funding over the last few years for consultancies, book royalties, honoraria for conference presentations, and to cover travel expenses including from La Loterie Romande (Switzerland), Club NSW (Australia), Comelot (UK), La Française des Jeux (France), Loto-Québec (Québec, Canada), National Lottery (Belgium). He is a member of the Independent Assessment Panel of the World Lottery Association. Alex Blaszszynski has received direct and indirect funding over the last few years for research projects, consultancies, book royalties, honoraria for conference presentations, and to cover travel expenses including from La Loterie Romande (Switzerland), Svenska Spel (Sweden), Club NSW (Australia), Comelot (UK), La Française des Jeux (France), Loto-Québec (Québec, Canada), Casino Austria, National Lottery (Belgium), Sportsbet, Aristocrat Leisure Industries, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Gambling Research Exchange Ontario, Responsible Gambling Trust (GambleAware), Manitoba Gambling Research Program, NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming, and Racing, Gambling Research Australia, National Association for Gambling Studies, National Council on Problem Gambling, and Le Comité d’organisation Congrès international sur les troubles addictifs. He receives funding from the Routledge Group in his role as Editor-in-Chief for International Gambling Studies. All professional dealings have been conducted with the aim of enhancing responsible gambling and harm minimisation policies and practices, training counsellors in the treatment interventions, and advancing our understanding of the psychology of gambling. Author 4 does not believe any of these funding sources constitute a conflict of interest for this project; however, we want to fully disclose our funding sources. Davis Fong received funding from the University of Macau and Macau SAR government (China).

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Collins, P., Shaffer, H.J., Ladouceur, R. et al. Gambling Research and Industry Funding. J Gambl Stud 36, 989–997 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-019-09906-4

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Keywords

  • Research
  • Funding
  • Ethics
  • Gambling