International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors

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Our History

Since 1992, Drs. Derevensky and Gupta, along with their colleagues and students, have strived to understand the underlying factors and consequences related to youth gambling problems. Originally established as the McGill Youth Gambling Research and Treatment Clinic, our Centre is, now more than ever, involved in research, prevention, and the training of researchers and professionals concerned with youth gambling and treatment.

Over time, the Centre's mandate and role evolved, and research shifted to focus on multiple high-risk adolescent behaviours. In 2001, McGill University's Senate officially approved the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors as a McGill University Research Centre. The research focus has grown considerably in scope, and the Centre has several full-time staff members, in addition to post-doctoral, doctoral and master's level students. The Centre is located in Duggan House, an historic mansion on the corner of Pine and McTavish Streets.

Our Mission

The Centre is committed to the advancement of knowledge in the area of youth gambling participation and risk-taking behaviours, through the development of both basic and applied research. Members of the Centre and of our International Advisory Board are engaged in a multitude of research projects that directly address youth gambling problems and that of co-occuring disorders. As part of our broader mandate to understand youth gambling, the Centre is also engaged in training, treatment, prevention, information dissemination, and policy development.

Research - One of the Centre's primary goals is to develop a broader knowledge base regarding youth gambling problems, as well as gaining a better understanding of youth involvement in high-risk behaviours.

The Centre has many ongoing international research projects. Our research expertise has developed over the years, and Dr. Derevensky and Dr. Gupta are often asked to help design projects by various governmental and non-governmental agencies. Research results are often published in scientific journals, presented at national and international conferences, and are used by agencies to help develop prevention tools and programs, as well as adding to the discourse of social policies.

Training - Dr. Derevensky is a professor at McGill University, where he and Dr. Gupta supervise master's and doctoral students. Other staff members of the Centre offer training sessions to a number of educators and counsellors who are interested in educating themselves about youth gambling problems. The Centre staff are actively involved in training clinicians, researchers, prevention specialists, and policy makers.

Services - The Centre offers conferences, information and prevention workshops to various groups working closely with adolescents (teachers, clinicians, treatment providers, community agencies, health professionals and parents), locally, nationally and internationally. We also welcome visiting international researchers and students who wish to spend some time working with our team. Many members are called upon by journalists who are looking for information and data on youth gambling participation, and the risks and consequences associated with excessive participation.

Treatment - The Centre is committed to the continued evaluation of effective treatment paradigms and best practices. As well, some of our clinicians offer private treatment services in English.

Prevention - Over the past five years, the Centre has developed various prevention tools for elementary, high school and college-age students, including brochures, self-evaluation screening cards, and a Centre-produced docudrama video entitled Clean Break. The Centre also has developed two interactive computer games, The Amazing Château for elementary school children, and Hooked City for high school students, which were distributed to all Quebec schools in November 2004, including public, private and alternative elementary and high schools. As of Fall 2008, we are pleased to feature our exciting, brand-new prevention game Know Limits (Dés Joués in French), for teens in high schools and treatment or rehabilitation centres. These tools are available upon request by visiting our Prevention section for more information. Our prevention tools are currently being used in North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

Knowledge transfer - The Centre has made available a number of our published articles in PDF format; visit the Research and Publications section of our website. As well, the Centre publishes and distributes an online quarterly newsletter, and a periodic newsflash. If you are interested in receiving any of these publications, please contact Lynette Gilbeau at 514-398-4438, or by email at <>; your email address will be added to our distribution list. As of February 2008, almost 1,000 individuals and organizations were recipients of these bulletins.

Consultations - The Centre is active in assisting different agencies, often governmental, in elaborating public policies regarding minors' participation and access to gambling activities and venues. Over the years, Drs. Derevensky and Gupta have been invited to many jurisdictions including the U.S., Canada, Austria, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Africa, and Singapore to present their work.

Our Advisors

  • Dr. Alex Blaszczynski, Chair, Department of Psychology; Co-Director, Gambling Research Unit, University of Sydney; and Head, Department of Medical Psychology, Westmead Hospital, Australia
  • Dr. Ron Frisch, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of Windsor, Canada
  • Dr. Louis Glicksman, Director of Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada
  • Dr. Mark Griffiths, Department of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, U.K.
  • Dr. Durand Jacobs, Professor Emeritus, Loma Linda University, U.S.A.
  • Jacques LeChevalier, Former Director, Senior Scientist, Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, Canada
  • Dr. Henry Lesieur, Institute for Problem Gambling, U.S.A.
  • Dr. Lia Nower, Director-Center for Gambling Studies, Rutgers University, U.S.A.
  • Dr. Marc Potanza, Director of Gambling Studies, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, U.S.A.
  • Nelson Rose, Professor of Law, Whittier Law School, U.S.A.
  • Dr. Randy Stinchfield, Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, U.S.A.
  • Roger Svendsen, Former Director, Program Development and Treatment, Minnesota Institute of Public Health, U.S.A.
  • Keith Whyte, Executive Director, National Council on Problem Gambling Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
  • Dr. Ken Winters, Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, U.S.A.
  • Dr. Harrold Wynne, President, Wynne Ressources, Canada

Our Board of Directors

  • Dr. Hélène Perrault, Chair of Board; Dean, Faculty of Education, McGill University
  • Ms. France Chrétien-Desmarais
  • Mr. Scott Conrad, former Director General, Laurenval School Board
  • Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky, Professor, Department of Education and Counseling Psychology; Co-director of the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors, McGill University
  • Dr. Rina Gupta, Associate professor, Department of Education and Counseling Psychology; Co-director of the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors, McGill University
  • Dr. Wendy MacDonald, Department of Pediatrics, Montreal Children's Hospital
  • Dr. Howard Shaffer, Director, Division of Addictions, Harvard Medical School