What are the risks of mixing alcohol and sports wagering

Double trouble: the risks of mixing alcohol and sports wagering
UNLV psychology professor and addictions expert Shane W. Kraus partnered on research into the links between sports gambling and binge drinking. Credit: Becca Schwartz/UNLV

It turns out that money isn’t the only thing sports gamblers are risking. According to a new study, bettors who wager on sporting events, esports, and daily fantasy sports are much more likely than other individuals to binge drink.

The findings, compiled by a research team from UNLV and the University of New Mexico, appear in JAMA Network Open.

Over the course of three weeks in spring 2022, researchers surveyed more than 4,300 adults across the U.S. Nearly 3,300 self-reported past year alcohol use, while about 1,800 identified themselves as gamblers who had bet on sports in the past year.

Researchers found that sports gamblers were 1.9 times more likely to report consuming an excess of alcohol—defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women at a single time—when compared with nongamblers and gamblers who don’t bet on sports.

The study bolsters previous research into the association between substance misuse and sports wagering. Sports gamblers often use substances while gambling and tend to be more inclined toward risk taking, which researchers fear may also translate to bettors’ alcohol habits.

“Our study suggests that sports bettors appear to use alcohol in particularly risky ways,” said study co-author Shane W. Kraus, a professor of psychology who serves as director of the UNLV Behavioral Addictions Lab. “Therefore, more education is needed to inform people around the possible risks of heavy alcohol use while also wagering on sports.”

More information:
Joshua B. Grubbs et al, Binge Drinking Among Sports Gamblers, JAMA Network Open (2024). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.5473

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University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Double trouble: The risks of mixing alcohol and sports wagering (2024, April 2)


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