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The Dangers of Combining Alcohol and Sports Betting: Double Trouble

A new study has shed light on the relationship between sports gambling and binge drinking. Researchers from UNLV and the University of New Mexico surveyed over 4,300 adults across the U.S. during a three-week period in spring 2022, and found that sports gamblers were more likely to engage in binge drinking than non-gamblers.

Of those surveyed, 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 found that sports gamblers were 1.9 times more likely to report binge drinking compared to non-gamblers and gamblers who do not bet on sports.

This study 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 was titled “Binge Drinking Among Sports Gamblers” and was published in the journal JAMA Network Open on April 1, 2024.

By Samantha Jones

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