The Austrian-based online gaming company bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and the Division on Addictions at the Cambridge Health Alliance have announced a five-year agreement to continue researching online gaming, with primary objectives being to identify and prevent gaming-related problems and thus create safe online gaming environments.
The Division on Addictions at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School Teaching Affiliate, has been collaborating with bwin for the last three years, together developing responsible gaming initiatives while providing tools and information designed to encourage responsible gaming. The new five-year agreement therefore represents a further extension of a collaboration that has already proved productive, as well as historic in its scope.
The three-year relationship between bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and the Division on Addictions has thus far produced several scientific studies analyzing the data of over 47,000 bwin customers' activities over that 36-month period.
Dr. Howard Shaffer, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School where he is currently the Director of the Division on Addictions, spoke highly of the online gaming company's commitment both to its customers' welfare and to the advance of medical research into gaming behaviors.
"Through its relationship with the Division on Addictions," says Shaffer, "bwin has supported numerous scientific inquiries, including the first ever scientific longitudinal study of actual internet gaming behavior." Shaffer, who has written extensively on addictive behaviors and the nature of addiction, as well as served as past editor of The Journal of Gambling Studies, lauded bwin for having "integrated responsible gaming efforts into its business practices and made empirically-supported self-help resources available to its subscribers."
Manfred Bodner, co-CEO of bwin, underscored the practical benefits of the research, noting the "need to understand what goes on in consumers' minds and be able to answer fundamental questions about online gaming based on scientific evidence — and not based on speculation." The idea, said Bodner, is ultimately to be "capable of identifying risk patterns associated with disordered gambling so that we can prevent them."