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2010 Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

New Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario improves the odds of better-integrated services to Ontarians

For immediate release – February 1, 2010 (TORONTO) – With Canadians spending more on gambling than movies, reading, arts and sports combined, the problem gambling services sector needs better collaboration and integration than ever. That’s the strategy behind today’s launch of the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario (PGIO), by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), to support and collaborate with the province’s problem gambling treatment system.
CAMH President and CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn formally unveils the PGIO launch today at a major policy Forum in Ottawa being attended by problem gambling service providers from across the province.
Located at CAMH, the PGIO will better integrate all of its leading work in the field – clinical, research, knowledge exchange and policy. The objective is to help establish a provincial vision and to inform national and international policy in this area.
“Closer collaborations between researchers and clinicians will certainly benefit clients, because we will be better able to focus our investigations on causes and effective treatments,” says Nina Littman-Sharp, manager of the Problem Gambling Service at CAMH, one of the programs constituting the PGIO.
Most importantly, the PGIO will be uniquely positioned to support Ontario’s problem gambling treatment system to better serve people affected by problem gambling. 
“The majority of people who experience gambling problems don’t access the specialized treatment available in the province,” says Wayne Skinner, Deputy Clinical Director of CAMH’s Addictions Program and one of the PGIO organizers.
“They surface in primary healthcare settings, the local credit counselling office, and the criminal justice system, to name a few,” he says. “A Problem Gambling Institute will have the range of expertise needed to work with these systems, to help them increase their capacity to identify and assist people with gambling problems.”
Robert Murray, manager of the Problem Gambling Project, is excited about the role that, will play in making PGIO resources and services available internationally. “We already have one of the most popular and comprehensive websites on problem gambling in the world, and we’re continuously making extensive enhancements to it,” he says. 
The PGIO will also have a global impact through its sponsorship of the Journal of Gambling Issues (JGI), the first online peer-reviewed journal focused on problem gambling.  Established in 2000, the JGI has published articles from the leading researchers in the field. 
With regard to research expertise, Dr. Michael Bagby, CAMH’s director of clinical research, notes, “We have remarkable people working in this area. PGIO gives us a way, through collaborations and partnerships, to develop knowledge and practices that have a real impact on the health of Ontarians.”
The PGIO’s unique array of resources positions it to reduce the harm from problem gambling by joining with its provincial partners to develop better knowledge that will lead to effective prevention and treatments.
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Media contact: Michael Torres, Media Relations, CAMH at 416 595-6015 or
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The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development, prevention and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues.
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