The major Vienna-listed online gambling group Bwin and the Division on Addictions at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School Teaching Affiliate, have signed an agreement for research collaboration for five years.

The research objective is to use scientific evidence to create the safest possible online gaming environment by implementing the findings of the world's largest longitudinal study.

The Division on Addictions at the Cambridge Health Alliance, has been working with Bwin for the last three years setting new standards for the industry, developing and testing empirically-supported new responsible gaming initiatives, and providing customers with responsible gaming information and tools.

This research has just been extended for another five years. The prime research objective is to establish a scientific evidence base that can guide the development of safe, recreational gaming environments and prevent the emergence of gaming-related problems as well as reduce any such problems that already exist.

"Bwin has taken the industry's leading position for corporate social responsibility," says Dr. Howard Shaffer, Associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Division on Addictions. "Their commitment to the scientific process and unwillingness to take shortcuts to achieve short-term gains is noteworthy and indicative of a commitment to the health and welfare of its subscribers.

"Through its relationship with the Division on Addictions, Bwin has supported numerous scientific inquiries, including the first ever scientific longitudinal study of actual internet gaming behavior, numerous scientific publications, and editorial position statements. Bwin has integrated responsible gaming efforts into its business practices and made empirically-supported self-help resources available to its subscribers,"

The scientific studies analysed the data of over 47 000 customers over a 36-month period, making it the largest longitudinal study of its kind worldwide. Because it relies on actual customer data and not self-reported results, the results are not influenced by customer recall or interpretation. The intention is to expand and enhance the responsible gaming activities into a systematic program of responsible gaming tools and applications.

"We 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. Ultimately, we are interested in creating behavioral models capable of predicting certain outcomes. Therefore, we are working towards establishing the scientific foundation that will yield algorithms capable of identifying risk patterns associated with disordered gambling so that we can prevent them," said Manfred Bodner, Co-CEO of bwin.

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