Responsible Gambling Research and Industry Funding Biases

  • Robert LadouceurEmail author
  • Paige Shaffer
  • Alex Blaszczynski
  • Howard J. Shaffer
Brief Report


This brief report examines whether there are differences in aspects of different characteristics, including design/methodologies of responsible gambling (RG), between studies funded by industry as compared to other sources. To investigate this, the authors used those studies included in a recent meta-analysis focusing on the empirical basis of RG initiatives (Ladouceur et al. in Addict Res Theory 25:225–235, 2017). We examined eight associations between funding sources, and different design/methodological characteristics of these studies; type of strategy, inclusion of comparison groups, measurement scales and repeated measures, publication source, number of inclusion criteria met, secondary sources of funding, publication year. The results revealed no statistically significant difference between the funding source, and the index study characteristics. These results do not support claims that funding exerts influence on the design or methodologies of RG studies. However, the absence of statistically significant findings should not be used to assert the absence of a funding effect because there are many reasons for failing to find differences, or interpretation of findings. Unexpectedly, a third of the papers included in this study failed to disclose their funding sources. This finding highlights the need for more open and transparent disclosures.


Gambling Funding Outcome biases 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

We do not believe any of these funding sources constitute a conflict of interest for this project; however, we want to fully disclose our funding sources. During the preparation of this manuscript, Robert Ladouceur has received funding over the last few years for consultancies, book royalties, honoraria for conference presentations, and to cover travel expenses including from 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 including from 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). 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.

Ethical 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 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversité LavalQuebecCanada
  2. 2.Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, Massachusetts Department of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.School of PsychologyThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Division on Addiction, The Cambridge Health AllianceHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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