Main Conference – Program Abstracts

Schedule, Session Topics and Summaries

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Wednesday, July 14
12:15pm – 1:00pm Don’t Waste Your Crisis – Jamie Wiebe, PhD
Crises have a powerful way of testing the status quo to expose the truth in what works and what does not, creating a watershed of opportunities for change and growth. While there is no denying the widespread and damaging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps it is the pivotal moment we need right now to pursue a new outlook to ‘responsible gambling’ and re-imagine a strategic and accountable approach. Dr. Jamie Wiebe, one of the foremost thought leaders in the global responsible gambling community, urges we “Don’t Waste A Good Crisis” and to act now on a bold new paradigm shift away from ‘responsible gambling’ in response to changes accelerated by the pandemic. What is working? What is not? How do we move forward? Her keynote presentation will tackle the radical drivers that need prioritization and outline the call-to-action to secure a sustainable post-pandemic future in gambling.
1:00pm – 2:00pm Gambling Treatment Diversion Court: Where Justice and Treatment Meet on Problem Gambling – Stefanie Hui; Cheryl Moss, JD
Hear from the Court Coordinator and original presiding judge, Judge Cheryl Moss, of the only active Gambling Treatment Diversion Court (GTDC) currently in the country. The presentation will briefly review the basics of GTDC, including participant eligibility, requirements during the program, and the tools and resources utilized to ensure participants remain “sober.” The presentation will also touch on treatment courts, what they are, and how GTDC is not just another adult drug court with a gambling track. Also, presenters will touch on how the first 2 years of GTDC were conducted and how it reached its first graduate. 
2:15pm – 3:00pm Young Adults and Gambling During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results From a Longitudinal Survey of Ontario Gamblers – Sasha Stark, PhD
Research frequently finds that young adults are at higher risk of gambling harm than older age groups. Emerging studies also report that young people are experiencing significant impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The current study focuses on this high-risk age group in a longitudinal survey of Ontario gamblers to consider how their behaviors and wellbeing have evolved over the pandemic. Descriptive statistics will be outlined for young adult gamblers who completed online surveys in April, August, and December 2020. Findings will consider measures like financial impacts, mental health and substance use, online and responsible gambling, and gambling problems.  The co-authors of the report on the findings are Iris Balodis, PhD, McMaster University; Alex Price, PhD, Responsible Gambling Council; NassimTabri, PhD, Carleton University; and Michael Wohl, PhD, Carleton University.
3:00pm – 3:30pm Community Readiness: Measuring Outcome Driven Change! – Roxann Jones; Jessica Palma
Oregon Problem Gambling Services adapted the Community Readiness Model (CRM) that combines prevention science and community’s experience assessment tool to establish outcome driven effective programming. We will demonstrate how we established baseline data for problem gambling prevention in all 36 Oregon county prevention and one culturally specific tribal prevention program. By matching strategies to the community’s readiness level each program was then able to develop individual strategies within their implementation plan based on their community’s readiness level stage within focused dimensions to increase awareness and prevent problem gambling in their communities, we will share implementation examples from a regional program. 
3:30pm – 4:00pm The Politics and Policy of Sports Betting & Responsible Gambling – Keith Whyte; Patrick Willard
The surge in the legalization of sports betting is sweeping the nation creating a patchwork system of laws and regulations that pose a challenge for addressing problem gambling in this country. In statehouses from Tallahassee to Austin to Phoenix, the new laws are being written by a relative handful of state officials, lawmakers and lobbyists. Patrick and Keith will review the landscape of the new gambling legislation and describe how to use NCPG’s advocacy tools and policy resources to engage with policymakers and promote best practices for responsible gambling laws.


Thursday, July 15
12:15pm – 1:00pm Remembrance of Things Past in Problem Gambling with An Eye Toward the Future – Tim Fong, MD
This presentation will cover the most critical scientific, clinical and political accomplishments that have influenced and defined the field of problem gambling since 2000. Dr. Fong will review a number of milestones that he experienced during these last 20 years that will help provide a perspective on how the field of problem gambling has been shaped. He will review the trials and tribulations of clinical medication trials for gambling disorder, the push to secure and maintain state funding for treatment and implementing high quality of care into problem gambling treatment. Dr. Fong has been attending NCPG conferences since 2000 and learned first-hand from many of the pioneers and founders in the field of problem gambling (especially Richard Rosenthal MD) and will share his perspective on lessons learned. Next, a critical appraisal of the current state of problem gambling will be presented, focusing on highlighting critical gaps of knowledge and areas that require immediate study and focus. Finally, Dr. Fong will describe how a career in working in problem gambling can be built and sustained, even in the face of limiting funding opportunities.   Together, these perspectives of past, present and future will set the stage for a deeper understanding of the field problem gambling.  
1:00pm – 2:00pm Are We Meeting Them Where They Are or Is This Just Talk?: Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in Community Gambling Wellness – Deborah Haskins, PhD, ICGC-II, BACC; Roger Trott; Luis Del Orbe
Often, we talk about “meeting gamblers/affected others/communities where they are,” but we really lack diversity, equity and inclusion in community-based gambling wellness. Many providers are not adequately trained in designing community gambling wellness that meet the diverse and changing needs of communities. Our paradigms often foster getting residents to “meet us where we are,” and then we are surprised when our efforts lack population reach.  
2:15pm – 3:00pm Clinical or Gaming Operator Interventions: How to Effectively Use a Harm Reduction Strategy of Self-Exclusion in Clinical Practice – Alyssa Wilson, PhD; Jody Bechtold, ICGC-II, BACC
Harm reduction refers to strategies aimed at reducing negative consequences of gambling behaviors that occurs on a continuum from responsible gambling to voluntary self-exclusion. Both strategies have positive outcomes in removing or reducing negative consequences of gambling. While promising, clinicians may not understand the differences between self-exclusion as a clinical intervention or as operator program, or how to use these strategies within clinical practice. The current presentation will highlight harm reduction and self-exclusion programs as clinical intervention strategies and provide clinical case examples with step-by-step overviews for using self-exclusion with other evidence-based strategies. 
3:00pm – 3:30pm Fish and Chips: Creating Buy-in for All-Inclusive Collegiate Problem Gambling Programming – Michael Buzzelli
In developing a problem gambling program with colleges and universities; where do you start? Who do you work with? If these answers don’t come easy you aren’t alone. While professionals in the problem gambling field have known for years that college and university students are at an increased risk for developing problem gambling behaviors, few have been able to get effective and sustainable programs off the ground. These professionals typically receive responses of “our students don’t gamble” or more often “we have bigger fish to fry.” Well, I say, let’s fry those fish, but let me add a side of another risk behavior your students may be participating in. When developing a problem gambling program with colleges and universities we can’t just focus on the sports pools, brackets, video games and poker Chips, we must also address the Fish. This session will discuss the necessity of integrating problem gambling programming into campus life issues including substance use, mental health, finances, peer support and wellness and highlight key student populations to collaborate with when developing these programs.The session will close with how these lessons-learned can be utilized in creating buy-in and partnerships with other groups and populations
3:30pm – 4:00pm Leading the Field in Times of Change: NCPG’s New Strategic Framework – Marlene Warner
Be the first to see NCPG’s new 2021-2023 Strategic Plan and learn how NCPG is leading and responding to the seismic shifts in the gambling addiction and responsible gambling fields.


Wednesday, July 21
12:15pm – 1:00pm Hello, My Name Is Craig – Craig Carton 
For 18 months Craig Carton was one of the most highly recognized, successful and frequent blackjack players at casinos throughout the world. His average wager and time spent playing during those visits clearly indicated he was gambling compulsively. Craig takes full responsibility for his wagering but rather than establish practices to protect him from himself many casinos not only made it easier for Craig to gamble, but they allowed him to wager far more than his credit report indicated he should.  A few casinos and casino hosts did however speak with Craig about his play and encouraged him to stop but did not have the ability or power to do so.  Craig hopes that by sharing his unique experiences he can help casino practitioners spot the compulsive gambler and put methods into place to protect them before it is too late. 
1:00pm – 2:00pm Responsibility in Sports Betting: The Intersection of Compliance, RG, AML, and Auditing – Seth Palansky; Martin Lycka; Robin Alexander; Declan Raines
Consumer protection and integrity are two key pillars to maintaining socially responsible sports book operations. This presentation will discuss the importance of AML (Anti-Money Laundering), Compliance, Auditing, and Responsible Gaming teams coming together to ensure the integrity of all sports wagers, and that RG tools are in place for those who may need assistance with wagering responsibly.
2:15pm – 3:00pm Understanding Adolescent Gambling Problems From a High-Risk Framework: Implications for Prevention and Treatment – Jeffrey L. Derevensky, PhD
Individuals from various socio-economic statuses, cultural backgrounds, and ages engage in gambling-related activities every day. There is a growing health concern over the significant and detrimental consequences of problematic gambling, which is associated with a variety of indicators of maladaptive functioning including poor emotion regulation skills. Most studies have investigated symptoms of emotion dysregulation (i.e., anxiety, depression), rather than exploring problem gambling from a social-psychological theoretical perspective. The following presentation applies the theory of emotion regulation to the study of problematic gambling across three separate studies with results lending towards better implementation strategies for intervention and prevention measures.
3:00pm – 3:30pm The U.S. Military and Problem Gambling: How to Care for the Troops and Improve Military Readiness in a Challenging Environment – Patrick Kelly, PhD; Jonathan Heller
Prior research has documented problem gambling in the U.S. military services with gambling troubles among service members higher than the general population they serve and defend. To make meaningful progress, we recommend changes to the military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation system, an increased commitment to problem gambling education programs both as members enter the service and as part of financial education programs and addressing this issue as a significant leadership challenge. These measures are particularly important as service members have increased gambling opportunities such as sports betting. Furthermore, we think these recommended measures will ultimately contribute to military readiness. 
3:30pm – 4:00pm Key Findings from the Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC) Study – Rachel Volberg, PhD
This presentation reports on the first major cohort study of gambling in the United States. Data were collected between 2013 and 2019. Key findings: (1) the opening of casinos in Massachusetts led to increases in casino gambling as well as increased rates of relapse among individuals with a history of gambling problems; (2) problem gambling status was unstable with high rates of both recovery and relapse; (3) predictors of problem gambling were examined within the same wave of the study and in the following wave. Implications for prevention, treatment and recovery in the United States will be addressed.


Thursday, July 22
12:00pm – 12:45pm The 5-4-3-2-1 Approach to Sports Betting- Brianne Doura-Schawohl  
This interactive session will examine the five primary ways that US gambling stakeholders are setting up a foundation that is replicating the mistakes of the United Kingdom.  The presenter will cover a variety of proactive approaches legislators and regulators could and should be taking to create a safe and sustainable gambling market. The presentation will end highlighting two of the biggest takeaways and lessons learned from legalized sports wagering since the overturning of PASPA and concluding with a call to action for all problem gambling advocates.  
12:45pm – 1:45pm Life Cycle of Problem Gambling – Marc Lefkowitz, ICGC-II; Ted Hartwell; Mo Michael; Ellen W. 
The presentation will follow a moderated panel using composite case studies of a male problem gambler, a female problem gambler, and the interpersonal relationship of a problem gambler and affected individual. The panel will journey from etiology to desperation/hopelessness, to treatment/12-Step, to relapse, and to sustained recovery (or other outcomes). The panels encounter with various stakeholders will be discussed.
2:00pm – 2:45pm Youth and Lottery Retailers: An Uncommon Partnership for Healthier Environments – Lynne Goodwin
Young people in California seek to impact their communities by influencing some of the environments in which young people encounter gambling. Participants shed light on the problem through the Betting On Our Merchants program where young people engage lottery merchants as partners in reducing underage access to lottery products and exposure to excessive gambling advertising. This work has been built upon the experiences in working across other systems where similar efforts are underway to educate alcohol and tobacco merchants.
2:45pm – 3:15pm Deepening Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Gambling Disorder Using Mindfulness – Lori Rugle, PhD, ICGC-II, BACC
Cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) approaches for gambling disorder have generally focused on modifying a person’s thinking towards gambling activities and often on defining “irrational” thinking that contributes to excessive or harmful gambling. Applying a mindfulness-based perspective to standard CBT strategies can contribute to a more integrated heart-mind-body approach. This can enhance a client’s self-awareness and provide for deeper learning and change. This workshop will present a rational for this integrated approach and provide brief experiential examples of it can be used with clients.
3:15pm – 3:45pm Capturing Changes in Gambling: National Survey of Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences (NGAGE) 2.0 – Don Feeney
Be the first to see the results of the second National Survey of Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experience!  NGAGE 2.0 documents the effects of widespread legalization of sports betting in the U.S. since the first survey was taken in 2018.  Has sports betting participation increased?  Has sports betting behavior changed?  Who is betting on sports?  Have there been changes in positive play and problematic behavior?  In addition, we’ll explore how the COVID-19 pandemic affected gambling behavior, and examine changes in the public’s attitudes and beliefs about problem gambling and responsible gambling.