Alberta Gambling Research Institute: Most Successful Grants and How to Apply

The online gambling industry in Canada has registered significant growth over the past decade. Due to its high popularity among the population – more than half of Canadians are active gamblers – local regulators are doing everything possible to ensure that this activity is safe for residents and regulated by law.
In terms of incentives, the Alberta Gambling Research Institute, with government support, for more than seven years, has been providing grants to fund detailed research into the provincial and Canadian gambling market.
In this article, we detail the Institute and its grant programme, describe and evaluate the most successful grants in the last three years, and explain how to apply for a grant.

About Alberta Gambling Research Institute

The Alberta Gambling Research Institute (AGRI) is a university association which includes:

The University of Calgary

• The University of Calgary

The University of Lethbridge

The University of Lethbridge

The University of Alberta

The University of Alberta

Each university has its own coordinators who contribute to the promotion of research in this area. The administrative center of the Research Institute is located at the University of Calgary, Alberta.

The main goal of creating AGRI is to encourage various research activities in the field of gambling, as well as to inform the players of the province about the risks and all the consequences of gambling activities in one of the Canadian provinces – Alberta.

Today, the main aspiration of the founders of the Institute is international recognition in the field of research on the gambling market and everything connected with it. The AGRI coordinators are the Board of Directors and a specially created advisory group. The Institute receives funding from the provincial and Canadian governments.

The government regularly receives important data by stimulating in-depth research into the gambling industry. Based on these statistics, it is possible to assess, for example, the popularity of each of these online casino Canada offers and their impact on gamblers’ activity. It allows taking essential measures to improve the performance of all online gambling operators in the country and their regulation.

How the Research Institute Functions

Every year the Institute opens the call for grant applications. Usually, the application cycle runs from April to July. In addition to grants, AGRI also holds regular conferences and online seminars, the topics of which are mainly related to the study of the gambling industry. Other responsibilities and functions of the Institute also include:

  • providing funding for conducting reviews of specialized literature on the topic of gambling;
  • implementation of a number of measures aimed at further increasing the research potential of each AGRI partner university;
  • development and technical support of the online resource of the Institute;
  • expanding libraries and facilitating access to existing collections and other helpful resources for a wider audience;
  • organization at all levels, including financial aspects, of conferences and other events;
  • active participation in various researches and workshops;
  • providing access to information and data about the process and results of ongoing research;
  • grant issuance, i.e. funding, to doctoral students and young scientists in the field of study.

Main Tasks of AGRI

The Research Institute team is working on the following tasks:

Task 1 Encourage participants to conduct various studies to explore the role of gambling in the lives of Canadians and its impact on the player and society as a whole.

Task 2 Ensure collaborative analyzes and research and comprehensive stakeholder support.

Task 3 Stimulate the growth of research capacity in broader and more diverse topics.

Task 4 Do everything possible to make the research available to a wider range of gamblers so that their results are useful and can be used in practice.

Grant Selection and Approval Process

All AGRI grant applications go through a review and evaluation process by experts. They receive applications for further assessment starting from July and return them with their evaluations by the end of August.

In addition to the grant application, reviewers also get a brief summary of the principal investigator or investigators if there is more than one.

A special subcommittee of the Institute Council announces the final assessment and verdict. As a rule, applicants are informed about the results until the end of October.

Criteria for Evaluating an Application by Experts

When assessing the application and giving their personal recommendations, the experts take into account the following factors:

  • the extent to which the proposal satisfies research needs;
  • whether the applicant’s goal is consistent with the goals of AGRI;
  • experience in obtaining similar grants and the success of the principal investigator in similar activities;
  • whether the claimed amount of the application does not exceed the grant budget;
  • what will be the contribution of this study to the growth of the potential of partner universities;
  • what resources are planned to be attracted to acquire knowledge, as well as ways to share knowledge between members of the academic community and beyond;
  • where research results can be applied.

Research results from the most successful grants are being integrated into the Canadian online gambling industry. Thus, many market player, such as these high roller casinos take into account the statistics obtained to improve the services they provide.

Grant Programme Application Process

The grant application process consists of several important steps. The key ones are as follows:

Step 1
Application templates and guidance on how to complete them are made available
Step 2
Completed applications are sent to the researcher
Step 3
Applications are submitted by a researcher to the Institute
Step 4
Pre-selected reviewers provide their expert assessments and opinions
Step 5
Proposal Review Committee approves applications
Step 6
Results are announced to candidates (approved or not)
Step 7
The principal investigator, who is also the applicant, sends a report on the work done (templates are sent to applicants in advance)
Step 8
The applicant submits a report on the completion of the research work (the template is received in advance)

Suppose the participant fails to complete the research work by the previously agreed date. In that case, an application for an extension of this period must be submitted at least three months before the completion date specified in the grant conditions. The maximum extension period can be up to six months. Due to the delay in implementation, grant payments will also be delayed for a certain period.

AGRI Grant Options Overview

The Institute offers seven grants, differing in budgets, timeframes and other conditions. The table below contains all the key information for each AGRI grant.

Grant Name
Maximum Budget
Maximum Period
Who Can Apply
Major Grants
Research encouragement
3 years
Applicant must have fellowship status at one of the participating universities
Collaborative Initiative Grants or Strategic Partnerships
Provide support to initiatives that favourably influence the popularization of priority research topics
May vary
May vary
May vary
Team Development Grants
Provide comprehensive support to academic research teams at participating universities, nationally and internationally
May vary; but does not exceed $10,000
18 months
Applicants must be at least two multidisciplinary professors. One of them must also hold a grant from one of the partner universities
Small Grants
Support for small development initiatives. As a rule, they are intended for further application for major grants
1 year
Applicant must have fellowship status at one of the participating universities
Leveraging Grants
Allow researchers who do not receive funding from the Institute to contribute to projects related to gambling
May vary; but does not exceed $80,000
May vary
The candidate must be one of the lecturers from the participating universities
Impact Grants
Support initiatives that play an important role in addressing AGRI priorities (data warehouse or outcome measures, etc.)
May vary
Up to 3 years
Candidates may be researchers from partner universities, as well as other organizations, consultants, etc.; one of the grant holders
Graduate Student Grants
Encourage new researchers and build research capacity in the gambling industry
$30,000 for a full PhD; $20,000 for a full graduate;
1 year; re-apply every year (up to a maximum of 4 years)
Academic excellence and suitability in the field of research

Most Promising Grants: Best Cases

Our experts have analyzed the four most successful grants approved between 2020 and 2022. All of them relate to research in the field of gambling. Below you can find all the projects’ details and our experts’ assessments.

Case #1 Gambling in Canada in the Aftermath of the Pandemic

Approval Date
Project Executors
Principal Investigator: Dr. Carrie Leonard

Faculty of Health Sciences & Department of Psychology, University of Lethbridge

May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022
Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Robert J. Williams

Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge

Project Highlights

This project is a continuation of work with members of the COVID group of the National AGRI project. Under GCAP – Gambling in Canada in the Aftermath of the Pandemic – more than 3,500 participants are being reassessed for: how often they gamble; whether they have problems with gambling; the negative impact of gambling; socio-demographic characteristics of this group; psychological condition; as well as a personal history of being infected with the coronavirus.

The research results under this project will allow the evaluation of changes in activity in Canadian land-based and online casinos. It will also provide an opportunity to identify problems associated with gambling at various stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

man expert

Our Expert Opinion

Considering the impact of the pandemic on all spheres of human life and activity, the importance of this study becomes clear. Thanks to this project, it is possible to assess the behaviour and psychological state of Canadian players before the pandemic, during quarantine, as well as in the early stages after the end of quarantine and the reopening of all institutions, including casinos. Also, according to the study’s results, it will be possible to say how the pandemic affected the activity of casino site users.

Case #2 Online Gambling Self-Help and Motivational Enhancement

Approval Date
Project Executors
Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. David C Hodgins

Department of Psychology, University of Calgary

January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024
Dr. Brad W. Brazeau