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Mohegan Tribe and Yale Department of Psychiatry Launch Initiative to Combat Problem Gambling

May 26, 2022

Leaders from the Mohegan Tribe and leaders in psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine have announced a new initiative to combat problem gambling. Under the partnership, the tribe will fund research at Yale 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.

The 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. Eventual products will be made broadly available to the public, helping ensure greater access for individuals who traditionally may have faced barriers to such treatment.

Under this partnership, the Mohegan Tribe will contribute over $2 million through the completion of Yale’s research and development of the treatment and tools. This funding comes in addition to the tribe’s annual contribution of more than $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 founding member and major supporter of the National Council of Problem Gambling.

“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. "Our tribe recognizes that as new products such as sports betting come to market, we must raise the bar for ourselves to do even more to help those suffering from problem gambling. This new partnership with Yale is the next frontier in promoting responsible gambling, and we are excited for Yale to get to work."

John H. Krystal, MD chair of the Yale Department of Psychiatry, 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, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and 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, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry, 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,” Kiluk said. “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.”

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on May 26, 2022