New US-based Study on Problem Gambling Launched in Illinois

Lee R. - December 1, 2020

Empirical data on problem gambling and mobile phone convenience shapes the potential benefits of a new problem gambling study in the US.

An early safe gambling study has been released in a US jurisdiction, after two years of rapid expansion of online services post PASPA.

Launching The Study

The study is taking place in the state of Illinois, as a one-year pilot study on gambling addiction in Illinois and current available treatments.

State Goals

The Illinois Department of Human Services will use the results to shape future strategies for problem gambling prevention and expansion of access to treatment and services, at an initial cost of$500,000 to be deducted from state gambling tax and money apportioned from the 2021 fiscal budget.

The researchers will be targeting identification of cohorts of vulnerable and marginalized populations.

Resources in Place

The state has made a helpline available for those who have gaming disorders or who know someone with gambling issues via toll free number, text and website.

Target Data

Among other things, researchers will look at populations that are vulnerable or marginalized. Supplemental Karger research links positive outcomes linked to breaks in play, with vulnerabilities identified in gambling-related cognitions and sensation-seeking behaviour.

Driver of Addiction

The key factor that will drive accessibility at this point is the smartphone, where Karger research reveals that participants tend to show “considerable perseverance” in the face of continued losses sequentially arising from prior engagement with the simulated gaming apps.

Vital Mobile Data

The Illinois study then has the potential to address specific vulnerabilities as they are revealed in live punting activity revealed through mobile user data.

Prevailing Addiction Data

In another study, Rutgers Center for Gambling Studies confirms overlaps between substance use disorder SUD and gambling disorders: thus, Illinois can draw upon on previous state SUD data to adapt therapeutic techniques and identify preventative solutions for its at-risk players.


The development of a network of treatment professionals in every state is suggested by Rutgers as the most effective method for offsetting problem gambling. Maybe Illinois can provide a model study and support program in the Post PASPA era to support players who progress from recreational to problem gambling as more states legalize sports betting and online sports betting.



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