A Growing Need for Gaming Research — NCRG’s Executive Director, Russell Sanna, PhD

Dr. Russell Sanna, Executive Director for the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG), says Responsible Gaming Week will bring together stakeholders from all over the world. Sanna affirms that responsible gaming “is expanding to become an incredibly important part of the American social, political, and economic fabric.” 

Research and Collaboration in Responsible Gaming

While the federal government doesn’t research gambling disorder at all, Sanna explains that the Center’s independent scientific advisory board has been able to publish over 418 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. Yet, on the preliminary topic of responsible gaming, only 29 studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals in the past 20 years. The Center looks forward to more reputable research efforts in the future, enough that would adequately represent the gargantuan industry.

Beyond individual scientific papers, the Center can also help create mechanisms of collaboration among stakeholders and researchers. It hopes to bring people and entities together for discussions on topics like the country’s fragmented self-exclusion programs.

Another of Sanna’s current projects is the establishment of funds to support research efforts in sports wagering, a practice that has been illegal until recently. Between sleep studies, sleep research, art, architecture and design, and sports wagering research, Sanna says that the common thread of his myriad careers has been his ability to convene and broker stakeholders in complex undertakings. 

Shifting the Norm

One of Sanna’s main priorities is to shift the norms in society to favor gaming education and research. Similar to how the architectural concept of a green building was fairly unclear before LEED, without a united effort to normalize conversations about responsible gaming, it’s difficult to report or measure how valid certain tactics can be for stakeholders. 

Sanna explains that though the country is aware of gambling, America doesn’t deal with it in the same realm as sex, drugs, and driving. The latter topics receive nonprofit attention, a place in public health education, and fairly standard conversations within the family, but gambling hasn’t broken its way into that group, and there are limited examples of gambling in a standard health education aspect. 

Responsible Gaming Week

That’s why Responsible Gaming Week is so important. Organized by the American Gaming Association, Responsible Gaming Week (September 15th – 21st) is a time when people in the industry can think through problems and collaborate on issues. The National Center for Responsible Gaming brings the scientific perspective to events in Las Vegas, participating in panel discussions about the state of responsible gaming. Sanna explains that there’s a newfound maturity within the industry in regards to responsible gaming, and the scientific community now aims to give it a closer look.

“We can create viable alternatives that will be very effective in helping the consumer have a healthy participation in the game, and the providers and the policymakers feel that they are understanding and managing the benefits and the risks of gaming.” Russell Sanna

Responsible Gaming Week is good for dialogue between stakeholders, scientists, and policymakers to assess where they’re at in their efforts to promote responsible gaming. It’s an integrative convention of minds, and Sanna is confident in the commitments that the industry has already made to prove their interest in responsible gaming. 

Hope for the Future

Sanna has hope for the future of responsible gaming. “We can create viable alternatives that will be very effective in helping the consumer have a healthy participation in the game,” he says, “and the providers and the policymakers feel that they are understanding and managing the benefits and the risks of gaming.”

Listen to Russell’s interview on the NO LINE podcast by clicking here. Or on iTunes by clicking here.

Reach out to episode guest Russell Sannaor follow the NCRG on Twitter.


●      The National Center for Responsible Gaming

●      Sports wagering

●      Responsible Gaming Week

●      The American Gaming Association

●      Green building/LEED

●      NPR: “Banning Gas Is The Next Climate Push”

●      MGM’s commitment to GameSense

●      Self-exclusion gambling

Responsible Gaming Education Week

Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW) was created by the AGA in 1998 to increase awareness of problem gambling among gaming industry employees and customers and to promote responsible gaming nationwide.

The AGA and the entire gaming industry realize that education is essential to promoting responsible play and increasing awareness of gambling disorders, and RGEW provides gaming companies with an opportunity to expand on work they do every day educating employees and patrons about the issue.

Copyright © 2024 Philip James. All Rights Reserved.