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Alcohol Use and Problem Gambling: What’s the Relationship?

Published: April 3, 2023

Many people may not think of alcohol and gambling as being closely related. However, three out of four individuals diagnosed with gambling disorder also have a co-occurring alcohol use disorder. And when casinos are presented in movies or on television, they are often portrayed as places to enjoy an alcoholic beverage and gamble at the same time. 

As responsible gambling is gaining increased attention due to sports betting legalization in Ohio, amplifying awareness about the co-occurrence of substance use disorders like alcoholism and problem gambling is becoming more and more necessary. That’s why this month — which includes both National Alcohol Awareness Month and National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week — advocates of all kinds can unite to raise awareness about these important issues and spread the word about the help that is available to those who need it. 

While still being studied by local and national scholars, Ohio has been on the forefront of researching and providing support for those with the co-occurrence of alcohol misuse and gambling disorder. Ohio is home to the first-ever clinical gambling addiction treatment program in the United States, founded at the Cleveland VA hospital in Brecksville in 1972, and to the first Alcohol Anonymous meeting, which took place in Akron in 1935. 

Getting help to those people, and anyone else who might be struggling, has never been more important. To aid in that effort, Before You Bet has assembled the following resources for you to use to raise awareness about alcohol use and problem gambling in your community: 

  • Ohio’s Problem Gambling Helpline: Calls to the Problem Gambling Helpline are answered by specialists in the state who are trained to recognize when someone might need help with problem gambling or other issues. To spread the word about the helpline, Before You Bet has assembled a toolkit of resources that you can use in your community. Never hesitate to call 1-800-589-9966 or text 4HOPE to 741741. 
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: An institute of the federal National Institutes of Health, the NIAAA offers a wide variety of knowledge to help people who might be wondering about the effects of their alcohol use and aid both researchers and community organizations, including Rethinking Drinking, an online resource to help people get the real facts about alcohol consumption and its effects.
  • This free, private quiz is an easy way to help anyone who might want to assess their drinking habits and reduce the risk of harm that might come from them. To spread word about the screening, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services even offers a toolkit of digital advertisements, videos, and audio PSAs that you can use to raise awareness of this resource in your part of Ohio. 

Before You Bet Quiz: And if you are wondering if you or someone you know might have a problem with gambling, take the Before You Bet quiz. It only takes two minutes to complete and can be a helpful resource for anyone who might need it. While not a medical diagnosis, the quiz will help you or a loved one gauge whether you are at risk for a problem with gambling.

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