The University of Sydney in Australia plans to set up a Center of Excellence in Gambling Research (CoEGR). The idea is to enable live trials to examine the impact of gambling therapies and formulate policies based on facts.
Entain Australia, the University of Sydney Brain and Mind Center, and the Australian Research Council Life Course Centre have pledged to support the organization's founding financially. This center will receive a $600,000 grant from the International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG).
According to the University, Professor Sally Gainsbury, the founder of the Technology Addiction Team and the director of the Gambling Treatment & Research Clinic, will lead the institute. Live trials will be conducted with the assistance of regulated betting operators and a group of professionals from the University's psychology, economics, business, and public health domains.
The University says the CoEGR team will analyze the data collected to support new methods and approaches for lowering gambling-related harm in Australia.
After her appointment, Professor Gainsbury commented:
“This unprecedented collaboration with gambling operators will enable the centre to overcome previous limitations in the field, paving the way for new and effective research outcomes. The operators will share de-identified data on gambling behaviors 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 noted that most bettors don't seek problem gambling assistance soon enough. The research center will seek to improve preventive measures and encourage positive behavioral changes when the harm is still budding.
“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.”
However, the announcement has faced opposition from a section of lawmakers who called on the University to refund the donations. The MPs argued that the University's reputation is at risk of being tarnished after partnering with sports betting operators in this project.
Australia has recently stepped up efforts to encourage responsible gambling and protect underage persons from sports betting and casino games. In late July, a parliamentary committee released the long-awaited report, recommending a total ban on betting and gambling ads within three years.