February 13, 2009 (InfoPowa News) — The Vienna-listed online gambling group Bwin, already widely recognized for its generous contributions to international problem gambling research and responsible gambling systems, is to sponsor a new project — the world's first-ever public data repository for privately funded datasets related to addictive behavior.
The project will provide much-needed data to further the cause of problem gambling research.
The project was conceived by the Division on Addictions at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, to make data available to scientists so that they can advance the available empirical evidence and knowledge base on addiction.
Bwin, which has previously worked on problem gambling projects with Harvard, will make available anonymous activity data from more than 40,000 of its users in an effort to underpin what is claimed to be " … the world’s largest longitudinal research study into problem gaming."
The Division on Addictions at the Cambridge Health Alliance created the data repository to promote transparency for privately funded science and offer better access to scientific information. It will collect and archive high-quality addiction-related privately funded data from around the world for academic research across a broad range of scientific areas — including psychology, economics, health policy, and public health.
Howard Shaffer, associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the division on addictions, said: "It is our hope that this increased access will provide the impetus for the development of public-private research partnerships and simultaneously advance what we know about addictive behavior."
Manfred Bodner, co-chief executive of Bwin, said: "Greater access to scientific information, in this case actual internet gaming activity records, should accelerate our ability to understand problem gaming, and also to implement the mechanisms necessary to detect it early. Our ultimate goal, of course, is to prevent it from occurring in the first place."