The Link Between Problem Gambling and Alcohol Use

Problem gambling, whether in the form of sports betting, lottery play, or casino play in Atlantic City, of is dangerous all by itself. If it’s paired with a drinking problem, it has the potential to get even worse. Since the holiday season is also a peak time for alcohol consumption, we’re taking a closer look at the link that exists between problem gambling and alcohol use.

These two activities often go hand in hand. When that happens, it can be difficult for those struggling to separate the effects of one from the other. We hope that by opening up dialogue and spreading awareness, we can continue to identify the disorders and encourage those suffering, as well as their loved ones, to get help.

Frightening Facts

  • The chance of a gambling problem increases 23-fold for those who are already struggling with alcohol dependency.
  • Out of every 100 gamblers, 3-5 of them struggle with an alcohol addiction.
  • Approximately 10-20% of those with a substance use disorder problem, also participate in problem gambling.
  • The rate of alcohol abuse for a person with a gambling problem is four times higher than a person without one. 

The Link

Gambling and drinking have a strong association. Both activities are legal, and when acted on responsibly, gambling and alcohol use are widely accepted ways to socialize and enjoy oneself. However, these two endeavors also contain the potential for serious problems. Since drinking and gambling regularly occur in the same locations – and many casinos provide free drinks to gamblers – the misuse of both often go together.

Furthermore, alcohol can often exacerbate the effects of problem gambling. For example, a gambler might use alcohol in excess when celebrating a win. On the other hand, a gambler also might abuse it to cope with anger and depression when losing. Finally, the lack of inhibition brought on by alcohol intoxication might also result in reckless gambling behavior that spirals out of control.

What Can We Do?

The CCGNJ is always here to offer support, treatment, and hope for New Jersey residents struggling with problem gambling. We offer a multitude of treatment resources for gamblers who also suffer from alcohol abuse. If you or a loved one is misusing alcohol while illegally betting for sports in Atlantic City, NJ, or exhibiting any other kind of problem gambling behavior, please contact the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey by calling 1-800-GAMBLER.


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