Feb. 7, 2019

Changes in gambling and gaming pose new challenges for researchers, policy-makers

Registration now open for Alberta Gambling Research Institute conference
University of Calgary professor David Hodgins is the chair of the 18th annual Alberta Gambling Research Institute Confernece, Blurred Lines in Gambling Research, taking place March 28-30, 2019. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

David Hodgins is the chair of the 18th annual Alberta Gambling Research Institute Conference.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

What counts as gambling? Blackjack, slot machines, roulette. But what about video games? How often do you have to buy a scratch lottery ticket for it to be considered a “problem”? What kind of harm does “low-risk” gambling have on your life?

The shifting dynamics of gambling are the focus of the 18th annual Alberta Gambling Research Institute (AGRI) conference, Blurred Lines in Gambling Research, running March 28­-30, 2019 at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Early bird registration closes Monday, Feb. 11, but delegates can register until March 4, 2019.

“The whole gambling field is in flux,” says Dr. David Hodgins, PhD, professor in the department of psychology and chair of the conference. “We used to have clear boundaries between what was gambling and what was not, what we defined as gambling-related harms and what was not, and what was problem gambling and what was not. All this is shifting.” 

These shifts are the result of changes in the industry as it expands to include video games and online gaming, and what scholars are learning from the latest research on behaviours, treatment, prevention, and policy.

Gambling in digital games, preparing communities for the arrival of a casino, innovative treatment programs, and responsible gambling initiatives are a few of the topics that will be tackled at this years’ conference.

The AGRI conference is well equipped to take on the latest developments in the field — as one of the top research-focused gambling conferences, the program draws international experts in neuroscience, community health, substance abuse, and more. The conversation, debates, and networking at the conference will be of interest to researchers, students, policy-makers, and practitioners working in the field of gambling.

The three-day program includes keynotes, panel sessions, and poster presentations. Review the conference program and presentations on the AGRI website.

The Alberta Gambling Research Institute is a consortium of the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, and the University of Lethbridge. Its primary purpose is to support and promote research into gambling in the province of Alberta.