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BGSU Psychology Professor Receives $1M+ in Grants to Study Problem Gambling

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated December 20, 2022
8 min read
  • BGSU Behavioral Psychology Professor Josh Grubbs to Study Problem Gambling

  • Number One Predictor of Problem Gambling: Chasing Your Losses

  • The Problem Gambling Network of Ohio One of the Best U.S. Treatment Programs

BGSU Psychology Professor Problem Gambling

BGSU Behavioral Psychology Professor Josh Grubbs to Study Problem Gambling

The New Year’s countdown to legal sports betting in Ohio has almost begun, that state about to launch its retail and mobile markets the moment it turns into January 1, 2023, a cause for celebration for many a Buckeye gambler, but a potential problem gambling nightmare for others.

In an effort to better understand (and perhaps predict) gambling addiction, University of Bowling Green behavioral psychology professor Josh Grubbs will study such behaviors with financial help from multiple grants, that’s according to The Toledo Blade, an northern Ohio newspaper.

This reportedly adds up to over $1M worth of funding including the first-ever award handed out by the International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG) from its Sports Wagering Research Fund, a $402k gift to help create a national study of sports-wagering behaviors in the U.S.

Professor Grubbs told the Blade:

“I really fell in love with doing the work because problem gambling is so different from other addictions. I think one of the things that is really fascinating is how demographically different sports gamblers look from other forms of gambling. For the most part, it’s mostly young, educated men with disposable income who gamble on sports, which is a different demographic than most other gamblers.”

One main predictor of problem gambling has already been identified.

Number One Predictor of Problem Gambling: Chasing Your Losses

According to Grubbs, those in the business of studying problem gambling have known for decades that the first sign of gambling addiction is often “chasing one’s losses,” meaning when a gambler immediately tries to make up for the money they just wagered away.

Professor Grubbs has said that the “difference between someone who gambles for fun and someone with a gambling problem is something we can usually get at with just one question: ‘Do you chase your losses and try to win back what you lost?’”

Another way problem gambling rises, according to Grubbs, is from the increase of accessibility to sportsbooks by legalizing them, now a factor in the U.S. ever since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May 2018 allowing each state to create its own sports betting market.

Since then, over thirty states have done just that including Ohio, where, by law, they must launch by the first of the new year or suffer penalties and (no doubt) the scorn of resident bettors who have been waiting for this special moment for quite some time now.

The Problem Gambling Network of Ohio One of the Best U.S. Treatment Programs

One advantage Ohio has in terms of battling problem gambling, according to the Toledo Blade piece, is the existence of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio, one of “the best gambling addiction prevention and treatment programs in the country,” according to Professor Grubbs.

Gamblers can be hopeless optimists who believe they can eventually ‘beat the book,’ but wagering involves too much uncertainty to consistently outguess the results, in the long run, a truth the sportsbooks and oddsmakers have known for centuries and have taken to the bank.

According to the Blade, earlier this year Professor Grubbs’ co-authored a paper with Shane Kraus, a BGSU alumnus now teaching at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, that “shed light onto which categories of sports betting are most likely to correlated with PG in the future.”

It’s a noble and necessary cause if the U.S. hopes to continue benefitting from this newly legalized vice.

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Mike Lukas

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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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