Illinois legalized video gambling in 2009, and each year it seems that some politician proposes casino gambling as the solution to the state’s financial ills. And with the proliferation of legal gaming options like video poker and slot machines, horse racing and casinos in neighboring states, gambling addiction has become a growing concern.
Jon Grant, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, has established a Center of Excellence in Gambling Research at the University of Chicago to research impulse-related addictions like gambling. In the coming years he’ll be studying hundreds of young people with varying levels of exposure to gambling, searching for genetic markers, family history characteristic and brain activity that could be indicators of potential addiction.
Grant’s work was recently featured in an article from the Chicago Tribune, in which he spoke about the importance of recognizing gambling addiction as a medical condition instead of the historical view that it’s some kind of character flaw:
“Wouldn’t it be great to be able to say we know the warning signs?” Grant said. “Education is a wonderful prevention. And so much cheaper than treatment.”
In April, Dr. Grant hosted a webinar on changes to the DSM-5 that reclassified gambling addiction as a mental disorder. You can read more about Dr. Grant’s Center of Excellence in Gambling Research in our Newsroom, and the National Center for Responsible Gaming, which provided funding for the center.