Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 121–132 | Cite as

Urge to Gamble in Problem Gamblers Exposed to a Casino Environment

  • Matt G. Kushner
  • Kenneth Abrams
  • Christopher Donahue
  • Paul Thuras
  • Randy Frost
  • Suck Won Kim
Original Paper


Cue-reactivity has received increased attention in addiction research, though not for gambling in particular. We examined cue reactivity in 18 problem gamblers by accompanying them to a gaming casino and measuring their subjective urge to gamble over a 1-h period. Half of the sample was additionally exposed to a gambling-specific negative mood induction (NMI) manipulation via guided imagery. Overall, about two-thirds of the sample reported moderate to high-gambling urges during the casino exposure. Additionally, the NMI reduced cue-reactivity. Finally, gambling urges in both groups decreased over the course of the exposure sessions. These findings suggest that a majority of problem gamblers experience the urge to gamble when exposed to gambling cues and that the intensity of these urges decrease with time, especially in the presence of a gambling-relevant NMI. Cue exposure should be studied further as a potential tool in the treatment of problem gambling.


Pathological gambling Cue exposure Craving Urges Addiction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matt G. Kushner
    • 1
  • Kenneth Abrams
    • 2
  • Christopher Donahue
    • 1
  • Paul Thuras
    • 3
  • Randy Frost
    • 4
  • Suck Won Kim
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Fairview-Riverside HospitalUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.University of RichmondRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical CenterMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.Smith CollegeBostonUSA

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