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The Connection Between Gambling Addiction and Alcohol Dependency

A gambling addiction is dangerous on its own, but when you couple it with a dependency on alcohol, it can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, the combination is way too common.

In honor of Alcohol Awareness Month, the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) is taking some time to focus on the connection between problem gambling and alcohol use. The two frequently occur alongside each other, to the point that sufferers of both can find it hard to disentangle the effects of one from those of the other. We hope that opening up the conversation will continue to demystify the disorders, lift the stigma surrounding them and encourage sufferers and their loved ones to seek help.

Alarming Stats

  • The odds of developing a gambling addiction increases 23-fold for people who are already dealing with a dependency on alcohol.
  • Three to five gamblers out of every hundred struggles with an alcohol addiction.
  • About 10 to 20 percent of people with a substance abuse problem also have some kind of gambling disorder.
  • The rates of alcohol abuse for a person with a gambling problem compared to those without one are four times higher.

The Connection

Gambling and alcohol have a closely intertwined relationship. Both are legal, and when done responsibly, both gambling and alcohol use are widely accepted forms of entertainment and socialization. However, both also have the potential for addiction, and given that drinking and gambling commonly occur in the same establishments (not to mention, many casinos provide free drinks), both addictions often occur alongside each other.

Additionally, alcohol can compound the effects of a gambling disorder. For example, gamblers may use alcohol in excess to celebrate a win or cope with anger and depression after a loss. The lack of inhibition caused by alcohol intoxication can also lead to reckless gambling behavior that only spirals further as time goes on.

Doing Our Part

The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) offers support, treatment and hope for New Jersey residents struggling with a gambling disorder, and can offer specialized treatment resources for gamblers who also have a substance use disorder. If you or a loved one is currently dealing with an addiction to racetrack wagering in Monmouth, NJ, sports betting in AC, casino gambling or any other type of problem gambling behavior, call the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at any time by dialing 1-800-GAMBLER.

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