State commission hires problem gambling expert

Mark Vander Linden
Mark Vander Linden
Courtesy Massachusetts Gaming Commission

The state gambling commission has named a well-credentialed problem gambling specialist to a high-level post running the commission’s efforts to prevent and combat compulsive gambling.

Mark Vander Linden, currently executive officer in the Office of Problem Gambling Treatment and Prevention at the Iowa Department of Public Health, has been hired as the Massachusetts board’s first director of research and problem gambling, the commission announced today.

Vander Linden is also board president at the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators and on the board of directors for the National Center for Responsible Gaming.

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Marlene Warner, executive director of the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, enthusiastically endorsed the hire.

“Very few individuals are expert on the issues surrounding prevention, treatment, regulation and research all related to problem gambling,” said Warner, in a statement, speaking of Vander Linden. “It was a real achievement for the [commission] to secure Mark in this role.”

Vander Linden holds a master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California at Berkley. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Iowa.