The Dangers of Combining Alcohol and Sports Betting: Double Trouble

A recent study conducted by researchers from UNLV and the University of New Mexico has revealed that sports gamblers are more likely to engage in binge drinking than non-gamblers. The study surveyed over 4,300 adults across the U.S. over a three-week period in spring 2022, and found that nearly 3,300 reported past year alcohol use, while about 1,800 identified as sports gamblers who had bet on sporting events in the past year.

The research team discovered that sports gamblers were 1.9 times more likely to report binge drinking, which is defined as consuming five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women at a single time, compared to non-gamblers and gamblers who do not bet on sports. This finding adds to existing research that shows a connection between substance misuse and sports betting, suggesting that risky gambling behaviors may also lead to risky alcohol consumption.

Study co-author Shane W. Kraus, a professor of psychology and director of the UNLV Behavioral Addictions Lab, emphasized the need for more education to inform people about the potential risks of heavy alcohol use while participating in sports betting. The study, titled “Binge Drinking Among Sports Gamblers,” was published in the journal JAMA Network Open on April 1, 2024.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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