Catalyst Grant : Health Impacts of Gambling and Gaming – Application

Governance and Public Policy
Social Justice
Well-being, Health and Biomedical Discovery


Academic Unit: inquire with unit

Memorial Deadline: Wednesday 4th, October 2023

External Deadline: Tuesday 10th, October 2023


The majority of Canadians partake in some form of gambling, and for some, this can lead to the development of problematic gambling behaviours and even gambling disorder. This is associated not only with financial loss, but also with effects on the physical and/or mental health of the individual. The recent increase of gambling advertising, the creation of legal gambling markets especially in online sports betting and increased availability of gambling through new technologies have the potential to impact problematic gambling rates in Canada. The increase in popularity of gambling and gaming calls for research to better inform interventions and policies to minimize harms to Canadians.

Gambling in Canada has been legal since 1985 but in 2021 the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act which legalized single-event sports betting came into force. Provinces and Territories are responsible for the licensing and regulation of all types of gambling in their jurisdiction, including single-event sports betting and online gambling. In 2022, Ontario opened a regulated online gambling market which has raised concerns about the impacts on rates of gambling, and the related health impacts, not only in the province of Ontario but nationwide. The impacts on gambling rates and problematic gambling, as well as other health impacts of these regulatory changes, are unknown.

Many individuals who gamble partake in multiple types of gambling activities, for example in-person, lottery, or online gambling, and more recently there is interest in the relationship between online video gaming and the initiation of gambling. Online or video gaming, herein referred to as gaming, increasingly includes gambling-like components such as loot boxes, which can require purchases with real currency.

There is a need for more evidence on problematic gaming, including the risk and protective factors for gaming disorder. Furthermore, there is growing concern, in all demographics but particularly with respect to children and youth, that gaming might serve as a risk factor for the initiation of gambling. The extent to which this is an issue in Canada, and how this occurs in the Canadian context is unknown. Research is needed to better understand the intersection between problematic gambling and/or gaming, and mental health and/or substance use disorders.

Research Areas

This funding opportunity will support projects relevant to the following research areas:

  • – risk and/or protective factors and the development of problematic gambling or gaming, including co-morbidity with substance use and/or mental health disorders;
  • – evaluation of interventions to prevent, reduce the harms of or treat the full spectrum of problematic gambling or gaming, including interventions which consider the prevention or treatment of comorbid substance use or mental health disorders. This can include the development and evaluation of novel interventions or the evaluation of existing interventions;
  • – evaluation of policies and regulations relating to gambling or gaming that have the potential to impact health.

Research focused on the intersection of gambling and gaming for any of the above research areas will be eligible.

Projects that include consideration of gambling and gaming implications/interventions across different populations, particularly those from marginalized populations and/or consideration of the implications of the social determinants of health are encouraged.

Please note that for the purposes of this funding opportunity “gaming” refers to video or online games that do not pay out money.

Registration Deadline 2023-09-26
Application Deadline 2023-10-10

See ResearchNet for more information.

Funding Sources

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

This opportunity was posted by: RGCS

Last modified: August 3, 2023