Telehealth Gambling Addiction Treatments Studied In Chattanooga

Posted on July 15, 2021

Kindbridge, a virtual telehealth clinic based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is partnering with Rutgers University in New Jersey to study the effectiveness of telehealth treatment on gambling addiction.

Experts have a hunch that if virtual gambling exists, so should virtual treatment.

Telehealth treatment research is first of its kind

This research on virtual gambling addiction treatment is the first of its kind in the US. Testing will be conducted at the Kindbridge Research Institute.

Since its official launch in 2020, Kindbridge has partnered with various US casino operators, social groups, and insurance firms. It provides telehealth care for gamblers and those with other digital dependencies, such as video gamers.

An additional gambling technology company called Playtech, based out of Isle of Man, makes up the third leg of this research trio.

Playtech and Kindbridge have partnered with Rutgers’ Center for Gambling Studies. Together, they will create an evidence-based model for gambling treatment within a virtual, telehealth setting.

Mary Linden-Salter of the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug & other Addiction Services says additional research on the subject would benefit Tennessee’s budding gambling industry:

“TAADAS would welcome research on virtual gambling treatment – especially to develop new evidence-based treatment modalities.  With the recognition of the need to provide telehealth now formalized in TN law, telehealth programs will grow and evidence-based online programs like this will be needed.  Virtual telehealth programs help greatly with geo-access issues and provide access to care for what is a relatively specialty-based type of clinical program.”

The state does not fund Kindbridge. Therefore, it doesn’t receive any of the tax dollars allotted to Tennessee gambling and addiction treatment programs.

This could change in the future, however, based on the study’s results.

Technology can benefit problem gamblers

Technology could greatly benefit gamblers in the addiction treatment space. The only problem is, facilities have yet to conduct an official study on the issue until now.

Telehealth treatment provides the opportunity to better understand and treat gambling addiction by leveraging technological advancements. At Kindbridge, the client and counselor communicate through video links and notes.

Think of a setup similar to Zoom or FaceTime, except with clinical tools integrated into the platform.

Daniel Umfleet, Kindbridge founder and CEO, describes the project,

“The study is to design an evidence-based telehealth model that would monitor a client’s progress from initial intake for treatment, straight through recovery, and measure their quality of life at 30, 60, 90, and 180 days post-treatment completion.”

Analysts will then compare user data with statistics gathered from the Kindbridge clinical network. Ultimately, the hope is to more thoroughly understand the cause behind problem gambling behavior.

Along with being the lead researcher on this project, Lia Nower is also the director of Rutgers’ gambling studies center. Nower says this type of study is long overdue.

“Kindbridge is the first treatment agency in the US that is exclusively focused in these areas, and delivering treatment we can test for effectiveness fills an unmet need in this time of rapid expansion.”

The study will go on for the next 18 to 24 months.

If successful, Tennessee bettors will have one more viable treatment option for addressing gambling addiction problems.

This new study could be a big step forward for Tennessee responsible gambling resources.

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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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