Mohegan Tribe, Yale University Partner to Combat Problem Gambling

Posted on: May 26, 2022, 12:41h. 

Last updated on: October 28, 2022, 02:08h.

The Mohegan Tribe and Yale University are teaming up in Connecticut to take down problem gambling.

Mohegan Tribe Yale University problem gambling
The Yale University School of Medicine has received a $2 million gift from the Mohegan Tribe to better study gambling disorders and develop solutions to help those battling such addiction. The Mohegan Tribe owns and operates Mohegan Sun. (Image: The New York Times)

One of two federally recognized tribes in the state, the Uncasville-based Mohegan Tribe announced yesterday a $2 million pledge to develop better treatment protocols for those gambling in excess. The tribe and university say the funding will bankroll researchers as they try to develop digital therapeutic resources, one potential example being a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) mobile application.

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,” a press release on the partnership read.

“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,” the tribal statement added.

The Mohegan Tribe owns and operates Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort.

Problem Gambling Funding Required

Connecticut has Class III gaming compacts with both of its tribes. Along with the Mohegans, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which owns and operates Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Ct., the Class III compacts allow the tribes to operate slot machines, table games, and sports betting. The tribes’ revised revenue-sharing contracts reached last year additionally gave them iGaming privileges.

The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that two million US adults — or 1% of the population — meet the criteria to be considered problem gamblers. Another four to six million adults are considered to have a mild or moderate gambling disorder.

But with gaming continuing to expand in Connecticut and across the US, the Mohegan Tribe and Yale University believe now is a most appropriate time to develop better safeguards.

Connecticut’s Class III compacts require the two tribes to set aside a small percentage of their annual gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling. But that amounts to around $300,000 a year. The $2 million grant will be allocated to Yale’s School of Medicine’s Psychiatry Department.

Yale Problem Gambling Track Record

In 2009, the International Center for Responsible Gambling, a nonprofit based in Massachusetts, developed a grant program to establish “Centers of Excellence in Gambling Research.” Yale was one of the first recipients.

The New Haven school used the endowment to develop the Yale Center of Excellence in Gambling Research. The center has focused on better understanding gambling disorders and has placed an emphasis on developing careers centered on problem gambling research for students interested in mental health.

The Yale Center of Excellence in Gambling Research falls within the school’s Department of Psychiatry. It will be directly involved with the problem gambling research being funded by the Mohegan Tribe.

“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,” said Marc Potenza, co-director of the Yale Center of Excellence in Gambling Research.