Gambling Studies Program

Latest News

Skin in the Game


Dr. Fong was quoted in an ESPN article concerning the rise of online casino gambling centered on a video game. Counter-Strike Go, a game famous for its tradable gun customizations known as “skins”, has unintentionally spawned a 5 billion dollar online gambling industry, where anyone can come with their skins and gamble them away for real money. Dr. Fong explains that “skins are a highly effective tool for hooking those predisposed to addiction”, and supports the claim that these websites put many minors at risk of developing gambling compulsions.

Why Losing at Fantasy Football Can Actually Ruin Your Week

Vice -

Dr. Fong interviewed with Vice about the psychological effects of fantasy sports. Fantasy players often experience a high when their team is doing well and a low when their team fails. These intense experiences keep people signing up every season. As Dr. Fong discussed in the article, this ‘pathological wanting’ can be seen in gambling addicts as well which is why fantasy sports may provide a dangerous lure to problem gamblers.

Why Cops Are Raiding Arcades Over a Fishing Game

Vice -

Dr. Fong talks about why “fishing games” are so popular and why they pose a problem for the gambling community. Dr. Fong mentions that part of the reason these fishing games are so popular among Asian communities within and outside of the US is due to the large role gambling plays in their culture. He also provides a reason for why these arcade games are so harmful and how arcade games are become more and more like gambling games.

Frequent casino bus crashes draw mounting safety scrutiny

Nation & World -

Dr. Fong interviewed with The Seattle Times about casino bus tours. The interview followed a casino bus crash on October 23 that killed 13. The frequency of crashes like this has led to investigations and concerns that casino bus tours target vulnerable demographics. As Dr. Fong discussed in his interview, the bus tours tend to bring members of older, lower-income, minority communities to far away, rural casinos.

Betting On Our Future: A Campaign for Youth, by Youth to Raise Awareness about Problematic Gambling Behaviors

The peer-to-peer education model may be one of the first of its kind applied to the prevention of illegal and problematic gambling behaviors. The effectiveness of this program is currently being analyzed by UCLA and lead investigator Dr. Timothy Fong. Though the results of the study will be reported in full detail at a later time, there are highlights that may bring to the light the success of this program as a prevention tool for problem gambling in youth.

Top 10 Most Cited Articles on Problem and Problem and Pathological Gambling

Lesieur, H. & Blume, S. (1987). The South Oaks Gambling Screen: A new instrument for the identification of pathological gamblers. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144(9): 1184-1188. Cited by 2542.

Blaszczynski, A. & Nower, L. (2002). A pathways model of problem and pathological gambling. Addiction, 97(5): 487-499. Cited by 1029.

Shaffer, H.J., Hall, M.N., & Vander Bilt, J. (1999). Estimating the prevalence of disordered gambling behavior in the United States and Canada: A research synthesis. American Journal of Public Health, 89(9): 1369-1376. Cited by 1015.

Petry, N.M., Stinson, F.S., & Grant, B.F. (2005). Comorbidity of DSM-IV pathological gambling and other psychiatric disorders: Results from the National Epidemiological Survey on alcohol and related conditions. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 66(5): 564-574. Cited by 955.

Kessler, R.C., Hwang, I., LaBrie, R., Petukhova, M., Sampson, N.A., Winters, K.C., & Shaffer, H.J. (2008). DSM-IV pathological gambling in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Psychological Medicine, 38(09): 1351-1360. Cited by 502.

Anderson, G. & Brown, R.I.F. (1984). Real and laboratory gambling, sensation-seeking and arousal. British Journal of Psychology, 75(3): 401-410. Cited by 481.

Potenza, M.N. (2006). Should addictive disorders include non-substance- related conditions? Addiction, 101(s1): 142-151. Cited by 481.

Raylu,N. & Oei, T.P.S. (2002). Pathological gambling: A comprehensive review. Clinical Psychology Review, 22(7): 1009-1061. Cited by 479.

Lesieur, H.R. & Rosenthal, R.J. (1991). Pathological gambling: A review of the literature (prepared for the American Psychiatric Association task force on DSM-IV committee on disorders of impulse control not elsewhere classified). Journal of Gambling Studies,7(1): 5-39. Cited by 473.

Stinchfield, R. (2002). Reliability, validity, and classification accuracy of the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS). Addictive Behaviors, 27(1): 1-19. Cited by 456.

‘Gamblers’ aid must be on hand’

The Royal Gazette -

Dr. Abarbanel has been speaking to politicians and counselors in Bermuda about preventative measures that intend to minimize the problem gambling that could arise when Bermuda’s first casino opens soon. According to Dr. Abarbanel, local counselors and others she has spoken to have responded positively about her efforts. Dr. Abarbanel hopes that a casino tax could provide the funding for resources to combat problem gambling and its societal costs.

As California considers licensing fantasy sports websites, experts warn of a major problem: gambling addiction

The Los Angeles Times -

The Los Angeles Times published an article discussing daily fantasy sports and lawmakers’ recent discussions considering licensing DFS websites. There have been many concerns that this will foster a new generation of problem gamblers and UGSP’s Co-Director Dr. Timothy Fong and Beit T’Shuvah’s gambling treatment program Director Yael Landa cautioned that this would increase problem gambling behavior in California, particularly among younger people. The Office of Problem Gambling also spoke about ongoing efforts to help California residents cope with gambling problems, including free treatment via the CalGETS program as well as the 1-800-GAMBLER helpline.

E-sports and gambling convergence set to ignite business boom


Dr. Brett Abarbanel spoke at BC Lottery Corp.’s (BCLC) New Horizons in Responsible Gambling Conference on February 2. Dr. Abarbanel spoke of the convergence of these gaming and gambling components. E-sports are continually growing in popularity due to the hospitable environment, technologically and otherwise, it’s creating. Dr. Abarbanel talks about the similarities between e-sports and the traditional major sports leagues in this article. “These industries are meeting, and they’re absolutely exploding. We have multiple gambling variants, we have multiple gaming variants. We have combinations of crossovers: the gaming components are in the gambling games, the gambling components are in the gaming games.”

Q&A with UCLA psychiatrist Timothy Fong on gambling and the Super Bowl

UCLA Newsroom -

UCLA Newsroom interviewed Dr. Timothy Fong, a psychiatrist and director of the UCLA Gambling Studies program which is part of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, about why people gamble on sports and big events like the Super Bowl.