With Kindbridge Research Institute

DraftKings backs research on nexus between responsible gaming and veterans

Christine Thurmond, Director of Responsible Gaming, DraftKings.
2021-12-02
United States
Reading time 2:42 min

DraftKings announced Wednesday a multi-year financial commitment to Kindbridge Research Institute for a new research program to study the nexus of veterans and responsible gaming, with the goal of advancing evidence-based research in this area. This initiative is designed to provide a solution to the lack of information about problem gaming among veterans. 

DraftKings is currently the only U.S.-based operator contributing to this project. KRI will launch the 50x4Vets program, which relies on a three-pronged approach and will include funding research at the veterans-focused gaming treatment centers across the country.

The 50x4Vets program seeks to provide a permanent, long-term solution to the lack of research on problem gaming among veterans, with a three-pronged approach:

  • Leverage Existing Treatment Infrastructure: In the U.S., there are only a few veterans-focused clinics that specialize in gambling disorders. KRI has planned partnerships with researchers and clinicians to create multiple research centers that leverage this existing infrastructure. The research centers will each receive funding for three years to boost research capabilities while ensuring the highest quality staff and care for patients. Treatment will also be made available to veterans who are unable to seek in-person treatment through KRI’s partnership with Kindbridge Inc., a telehealth company with the largest network of therapists trained to address gambling and gaming disorders in the US.

  • Provide Multi-Year Commitments: To hire staff and build infrastructure that will produce high quality research in the long term, a multi-year commitment is needed. Each center will be guaranteed funding for a minimum of three years to ensure qualified staff can be recruited, trained, and retained.

  • Support Multiple Research Centers: The landscape of treatment for gambling disorder in veterans is diverse. By funding multiple research centers, the researchers can create and test treatment modalities in different settings and share knowledge about what works between the centers. This collaboration will exponentially increase the speed, quality, and utility of the research being done.

The DraftKings S.E.R.V.E.S. program, standing for Service, Equity, Responsibility, Vitality, Entrepreneurship and Sports: A key pillar of the program, encompassing the company’s commitment to those who have served in the military. DraftKings provides training in high demand tech skills for current and returning veterans, and their spouses, to help them expand their abilities in their current role or to find meaningful employment, or explore careers in tech, through its Tech for Heroes Program.

Since its launch in 2018, DraftKings has hosted 21 Tech for Heroes training classes across six cities and online, with over 500 veterans or military spouses trained, and nearly one $1M raised through the support of its customers who participate in charity DFS contests throughout the year. Additionally, its training program is complemented by a 1:1 career mentoring program for DraftKings employees and the veteran community, in collaboration with American Corporate Partners.

In an official press release, Christine Thurmond, Director of Responsible Gaming, Draftkings, spoke about this endeavor and said: “Today’s announcement underscores our commitment to furthering evidence-based research in responsible gaming and DraftKings’ long-standing support for our veterans. The DraftKings S.E.R.V.E.S. global corporate social responsibility program encompasses both our responsible gaming activities and our Tech for Heroes program, which provides free high-tech skills training to veterans and military spouses, as well as 1:1 mentoring opportunities with our employees. Supporting this vitally important veterans research is something DraftKings takes pride in.”

Nathan D.L. Smith, PhD, Founding Executive Director, KRI, added: “Teaming up with DraftKings to launch the 50x4Vets program, which seeks to improve treatment for veterans, stands to advance the field in multiple ways, including closing the gap in comprehensive research and literature in this area. We are grateful for DraftKings’ financial contribution, which has made a key difference in our ability to start the multi-year research project while collaborating with inpatient treatment centers serving veterans – lending an innovative approach to incorporating in the research actual, lived experience of individuals who require intervention. Our hope is that this work will make a difference in the experience of veterans while building a knowledge base that will make an impact on researchers and advocates across the country.”

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