British Columbia gambling enthusiasts now have an unusual place to play their next game of poker: A “casino lab” at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Established with $2 million in seed money from the B.C. Lottery Corporation, the new Centre for Gambling Research plans to study the psychology of gaming and development of addictive behaviours.
College Gaming Centre in Canada
The new centre is one of few casino labs worldwide, and it depends upon local gamers for its research. Centre representatives will be visiting local casinos to interview gamblers and recruiting “problem gamers” to study the psychology of problem gambling and decision-making. Luke Clark, the centre’s director, told Metro News that, “Our work will help us better understand the psychology of gambling games and problem gambling, which will bolster UBC’s strengths in addictions research and ultimately result in healthier communities.”
The casino lab is equipped with slot machines and other games so that researchers can more accurately study “the psychology and neuroscience of gambling behaviour, looking at both the features of gambling games and also the characteristics” of people with problematic gaming habits, Clark said in a video describing the new centre.
Ideally, the research performed at the centre will help to connect problem gamers with resources that can help them, and develop policies that more effectively target addictive gambling. When such addictive behaviours are more easily identified, there will be fewer hurdles for all gaming enthusiasts who choose to play online or in casinos and more effective treatment options for those who have problematic gaming behaviours. In short, the casino lab can improve gaming for all fans.
Gaming enthusiasts who have a healthy attitude toward their hobby can help researchers understand the difference between healthy and harmful gaming behaviours. At present, the centre has enough research participants and is asking anyone who wishes to partake in the research to sign up for the waiting list using their online contact form.