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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on Law and Justice
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of Pathological Gambling   


Project Scope

The committee will develop a synthesis of the research knowledge associated with pathological gambling, and its relevance for policy and program officials. The primary task of the study will be to identify and analyze the full range of research studies that bear upon the nature of pathological/problem gambling, highlighting key issues and data sources that can provide hard evidence of prevalence and multiple impacts. Study participants will assess the connections among normative behaviors, pathological and problem gambling, and mental illness; analyze the factors that cause, encourage or mitigate pathological and problem gambling behaviors, and whether they are expanding; describe the negative social and economic costs of pathological and problem gambling; identify and analyze relevant cross cultural factors; and identify the circumstances that both impede and support prevention and control strategies.


National Gambling Impact Study Commission


Committee Membership
CHARLES F. WELLFORD (Chair), Center for Applied Policy Studies and Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland
COLIN CAMERER, Division on Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology
LINDA B. COTTLER, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine
SARA KIESLER, Department of Social and Decision Sciences, and Human Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
MARK W. LIPSEY, Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University
EILEEN M. LUNA, American Indian Studies Programs, University of Arizona
BARBARA ANN MELLERS, Department of Psychology, Ohio State University
CLINTON V. OSTER, JR., School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University
DAVID RADOS, Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University
RICHARD J. ROSENTHAL, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles
HOWARD J. SHAFFER, Division on Addictions and Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
JEROME H. SKOLNICK, Faculty of Law, New York University School of Law
KEN WINTERS, Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota

SAMUEL C. McQUADE III, Study Director
MELISSA BAMBA, Research Associate
GLENDA TYSON, Project Assistant

Pathological Gambling: A Critical Review (1999)

 Pathological Gambling report cover




As states have moved from merely tolerating gambling to running their own games, as communities have increasingly turned to gambling for an economic boost, important questions arise. Has the new age of gambling increased the proportion of pathological or problem gamblers in the U.S. population? Where is the threshold between "social betting" and pathology? Is there a real threat to our families, communities, and the larger society? Pathological Gambling explores America's experience of gambling, examining: 

  • The diverse and frequently controversial issues surrounding the definition of pathological gambling.
  • Its co-occurrence with disorders such as alcoholism, drug abuse, and depression.
  • Its social characteristics and economic consequences, both good and bad, for communities.
  • The role of video gaming, Internet gambling, and other technologies in the development of gambling problems.
  • Treatment approaches and their effectiveness, from Gambler's Anonymous to cognitive therapy to pharmacology.





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