Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 875–886 | Cite as

Gambling Research and Funding Biases

  • Paige M. ShafferEmail author
  • Robert Ladouceur
  • Patrick M. Williams
  • Rhiannon C. Wiley
  • Alex Blaszczynski
  • Howard J. Shaffer
Original Paper


A recent systematic review of the responsible gambling research suggests that there are no significant differences between gambling industry and non-industry funded research with regard to research design and outcomes. This study empirically synthesizes the outcomes of a larger sample of the scientific gambling literature to determine the generalizability of these original results. Our goal was to determine the extent to which funding sources might differentially influence characteristics of research design and outcomes. We conducted a comprehensive review of 18 research databases and examined studies published between January 2008 and August 2018. For four gambling-related journals, we reviewed all of the available studies. For 14 addiction-related journals, we examined only studies that examined gambling-related outcomes. To be included in this study, publications had to be quantitative and include a clear gambling-related hypothesis. After retrieving 1731 gambling studies, we applied the inclusion criteria and retained 720 studies for our final analytic sample. We used hypothesis confirmation and funding source information to determine the presence or absence of funding bias. Gambling industry funded studies were no more likely than studies not funded by the gambling industry to report either confirmed, partially confirmed, or rejected hypotheses. Nonetheless, studies funded by the gambling industry were more likely than other types of funding sources to include a conflict of interest statement. Studies with disclosed funding sources were more likely than those with undisclosed funding sources to include a conflict of interest statement. These findings highlight the importance of transparency and disclosure during research dissemination.


Gambling Funding Outcome biases Systematic review Research synthesis 



The present study was funded by La Loterie Romande (Switzerland), Club NSW (Australia), Comelot (UK), La Française des Jeux (France), Loto-Québec (Québec, Canada), National Lottery (Belgium). Robert Ladouceur has received funding over the last few years for consultancies, book royalties, honoraria for conference presentations, and to cover travel expenses from sources including La Loterie Romande (Switzerland), Club NSW (Australia), Comelot (UK), La Française des Jeux (France), Loto-Québec (Québec, Canada), National Lottery (Belgium). He is a member of the Independent Assessment Panel of the World Lottery Association. Paige Shaffer obtained travel reimbursement and consulting fees from Laval University. During the last year, Paige also received honoraria and travel reimbursement from the National Center for Responsible Gambling. Alex Blaszczynski has received direct and indirect funding over the last few years for research projects, consultancies, book royalties, honoraria for conference presentations, and to cover travel expenses from sources including La Loterie Romande (Switzerland), Svenska Spel (Sweden), Club NSW (Australia), Comelot (UK), La Française des Jeux (France), Loto-Québec (Québec, Canada), Casino Austria, National Lottery (Belgium), Sportsbet, Aristocrat Leisure Industries, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Gambling Research Exchange Ontario, Responsible Gambling Trust (GambleAware), Manitoba Gambling Research Program, NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming, and Racing, Gambling Research Australia, National Association for Gambling Studies, National Council on Problem Gambling, and Le Comité d’organisation Congrès international sur les troubles addictifs. He receives funding from the Routledge Group in his role as Editor-in-Chief for International Gambling Studies. All professional dealings have been conducted with the aim of enhancing responsible gambling and harm minimisation policies and practices, training counsellors in the treatment interventions, and advancing our understanding of the psychology of gambling. Howard Shaffer received funding from a variety of sources, including the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations via the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Indian Health Services (IHS), the Integrated Centre on Addiction Prevention and Treatment of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals—which receives funding from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, DraftKings, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In addition, during approximately the past 5 years, Shaffer or the Division on Addiction received funding from National Center for Responsible Gambling, National Institutes of Health, the Alcohol Beverage Management Research Fund, the Danish Council for Independent Research, Heineken USA, Inc.,, St. Francis House, the State of Florida (i.e., as a subcontract to Spectrum Gaming Group), the Massachusetts Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Grant Program (i.e., as a subcontracted evaluator for Worcester House of Corrections), and the Massachusetts Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Program—as a sub-contracted evaluator for Cambridge Police Department). Dr. Shaffer also has received speaker honoraria and compensation for consultation from the American Psychological Association, Las Vegas Sands Corp., Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg, LLP, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, LLP, and from the Dunes of Easthampton, a residential addiction treatment program, for serving as a consultant. Regarding this project, he received reimbursement from Laval University for travel expenses, but no honorarium associated with the international group on responsible gambling. In the past year, Rhiannon Wiley and Pat Williams received funding from Laval University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

We do not believe this funding source constitutes a conflict of interest for this project; however, we want to fully disclose our funding sources.

Ethics Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans HospitalBedfordUSA
  3. 3.Ecole de PsychologieUniversite LavalQuebecCanada
  4. 4.Division on AddictionThe Cambridge Health AllianceMedfordUSA
  5. 5.School of PsychologyThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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