Leaders from the Mohegan Tribe and leaders in psychiatry at Yale University announced a new initiative to combat problem gambling. Under the partnership, the Mohegan Tribe will fund work at Yale University that will result in the creation of a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) digital intervention aimed at expanding treatment options for individuals suffering from problem gambling.
This work will include developing digital therapeutic tools, such as a CBT-based mobile app, to ensure greater access to care for traditionally underserved populations, giving them skills and techniques to treat their problem.
Under the initiative, Yale will build on decades of CBT research and methodology to develop state-of-the-art tools specifically designed to address problem gambling. Their work will include rigorous clinical trials and peer-reviewed data, ensuring any eventual treatment options are safe and effective for public use. The resulting products will be made broadly available to the public, helping ensure greater access for individuals who traditionally may have faced barriers to such treatment.
Pursuant to state legislation providing for contributions to support problem gambling, the Mohegan Tribe will contribute over $2 million to Yale’s School of Medicine to develop and make available a mobile app-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program aimed at treating gambling disorder. This funding comes in addition to the Tribe’s annual contribution of nearly $300,000 to the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, part of more than $10 million the Tribe has contributed toward problem gambling investments since first opening its casino. The Tribe is also a major supporter of the National Council of Problem Gambling (NCPG) and founding member of the NCPG President’s Circle Club.
“The Mohegan Tribe has a long history as a leader in combating problem gambling, and a long history partnering with Yale University to improve public health in Connecticut and beyond,” said James Gessner Jr., Chairman of the Mohegan Tribe. “This new partnership with Yale is the next frontier in promoting responsible gambling, and we are excited for Yale to lead the way in supporting problem gambling programs in Connecticut and nationally through its work.”
John Krystal, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, said, “We are grateful for the opportunity to leverage Yale’s longstanding excellence in the fields of cognitive behavioral therapy and substance use disorders to develop new treatments for individuals suffering from problem gambling.”
Marc Potenza, co-director of Yale’s Center of Excellence in Gambling Research, said Mohegan Sun’s renewed support for research builds on its long history of giving to the program, which has facilitated a better understanding of the characteristics of people with gambling problems.
“This new gift will allow for the development and testing of an innovative app-based intervention that we envision will help many people in Connecticut and beyond,” Potenza said.
Brian Kiluk, associate professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, noted that Yale has been a leader in creating an effective computer-based therapy program to treat substance use disorders, and is now eager to put this experience to use in developing treatments for individuals suffering from problem gambling.
“Using digital platforms such as mobile phones to provide treatment offers the potential to get help to more people,” said Kiluk. “The hope is to identify effective new ways to expand access to treatment as easily and seamlessly as possible and provide a means to help improve the lives of people with gambling problems, their loved ones, and their communities.”
“As Connecticut took steps to modernize its gaming industry, I said repeatedly that we must also do more to combat problem gambling – and that’s precisely what this new initiative from the Mohegan Tribe and Yale will do,” said Governor Ned Lamont. “Our state and local economies are stronger because of the steps we took last year on sports and online betting. Now, this new initiative from the Mohegan Tribe and Yale will help broaden the tools and resources available for anyone impacted by problem gambling.”
“We are grateful for Mohegan’s support and partnership with NCPG. Over the years, we have been fortunate to have Mohegan officials serve on our board of directors and provide their time and expertise to address these important public health challenges,” said Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council of Problem Gambling. “Problem gambling is not unique to any one state, and Mohegan’s recognition that these tools and resources must be readily available is a heartening step by one of our leading operators in the United States.”
“This partnership exemplifies the unified commitment needed to modernize responsible gaming and problem gambling resources for today’s expanding industry,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “Building a sustainable marketplace is dependent on innovative leadership and productive collaboration among our industry, advocates, researchers and anyone with a vested interest in gaming. The Mohegan Tribe’s investment today is an important step toward protecting all customers.”
“This joint effort with Yale is first of its kind. We recognize modernizing gaming comes with additional responsibility to our community and we have readily doubled down on our support to promote responsible gaming,” said Ray Pineault, President and CEO of Mohegan. “In addition to this initiative, we will continue to provide our long-standing support for programs and services for problem gambling, including employee training programs, funding for the 24-hour counseling phone line and live chat program designed to help those struggling with this problem.”