RIC joins with state’s gambling industry to help prevent problem gambling

The state’s gambling industry will sponsor the Gambling Studies Project (GSP) at Rhode Island College to develop programs for problem gambling awareness, research, student training, and youth prevention. The project is expected to launch on May 18.

The project is headed by George Ladd, professor of psychology at RIC, with funding provided by Twin River and Newport Grand, the state’s two gaming facilities, along with GTECH Corporation, International Game Technology, Multimedia Games Inc., and WMS Gaming, the companies that supply the state with video lottery terminals.

“This project will first and foremost benefit problem gamblers,” said Gerald S. Aubin, Rhode Island Lottery director. “The research, along with the training that the facilities and lottery employees will have available to them is of enormous value.”

Ladd added that the educational and community service components of the project are what gambling industry leaders find to be an imperative need. “They understand that their gambling business interests must be sensitive to and support the well being of their customers and the people in the state,” he said.

The project will integrate topics related to problem gambling into course and fieldwork to prepare students to become counseling and prevention professionals, including research that identifies risk factors and vulnerable populations, and partnerships with local secondary schools to develop a youth awareness program. In addition, the project will work with Rhode Island area counseling and prevention professionals to develop a problem gambling awareness-training curriculum for gambling industry employees.

"This project will assist our students at RIC in gathering much more information and participatory experience in topics of problem gambling prevention, counseling, research. We hope that this will motivate more students to pursue careers that contribute to an alleviation of problem gambling in the community," Ladd said.

He added that the project will continually release findings to the media and will develop a means to inform communities in the state about the warning signs of problem gambling.

The Gambling Studies Project, in development for more than a year, is part of RIC’s chemical dependency and addiction studies program.

“Overall, the Gambling Studies Project will demonstrate the positive impact of the college as a collaborative agent of education, research and community service,” said Ladd.

For more information about the Gambling Studies Project at RIC, contact George Ladd at (401) 456-8015 or gladd@ric.edu.