Protecting vulnerable gamblers in digital spaces
The Gambling Commission, the UK’s regulator of gambling providers, has awarded City, University of London and the LAB Group, a regulatory settlement award of £330,000 to conduct detailed research into new methods to help identify and protect problem gamblers in digital spaces.
City, University of London will work alongside LAB Group (lab.co.uk), an award winning London digital agency offering consumer neuroscience and psychological modelling, to identify solutions the industry can adopt quickly and easily.
The grant follows studies to improve mental health carried out at the Computational Neuroscience and Psychiatry Lab (pinotsislab.com) led by Dr. Dimitris Pinotsis, a Senior Lecturer at City, University of London and a Research Affiliate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
For these studies, City, University of London was also recently awarded a UKRI grant of £157,000 alongside research teams from UCL, King's College London and Canadian universities (part of wider funding of £1.2 million in total between UKRI and CIHR).
In these studies, Dr. Pinotsis and his colleagues have come up with new ways for analysing the behaviour and brain activity of people with mental health problems. Their work helped understand pathologies in US and UK adults affected by schizophrenia and other neurological disorders. The new award will allow City, University of London and LAB's research teams to jointly develop new neuroscientific and behavioural tools to help address the harmful effects of problem gambling and addicted behaviours.
Reflecting on the work, Dr. Pinotsis said:
"We believe that psychology and neuroscience can be used to improve the lives of both healthy people and individuals with mental health problems. Our goal is to use science to power innovation and have societal impact. This joint project will allow us to help the gambling industry better serve its customers."
Adrian Webb, Chairman of LAB and project sponsor, said:
"Preventative science has the potential to change the gambling world in ways that ensure vulnerable customers are protected more effectively. Our aim is to develop a new methodology rooted in science but also commercially pragmatic enough for gambling operators to use."
City, University of London and LAB will publish interim findings throughout the project and are aiming to have results ready to take to the market in late 2021.