Online Program

Past-year recreational gambling: Correlates between lottery and casino gambling and behavioral, and mental health disorders

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Nene Okunna, MPH, Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA
Rosa Rodriguez-Monguio, PhD, MS, Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA
David Smelson, Psy.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA
Rachel Volberg, PhD, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA
Background. Approximately 90% of adults in the US have participated in some form of gambling in their lifetime. Yet, few studies have assessed correlations between recreational gambling and behavioral and mental health disorders. This study assesses risk factors correlated with different forms of recreational gambling.

Methods. Data are derived from the 2013 Massachusetts Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national health survey representative of the state’s population. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models are performed. Statistical analyses are performed with STATA.

Results. Analytical sample includes 3,988 respondents, representing 5.3 million adults in Massachusetts. Overall, 57.4% (95% CI 54.1 - 60.7) of respondents gambled in the past year. Lottery is the most common form of gambling (53.3%; 95%CI 49.9-56.6) followed by casino/ table games (14.1%; 95%CI 11.8-16.6), and betting on sports/card games (10.4%; 95%CI 8.4-12.7). Current smokers and binge drinkers engage in lottery (62.3% p< 0.001and 61.7% p< 0.001, respectively) and casino gambling (17.1% p< 0.05 and 22.6% p< 0.01) at higher rates than the general population. Risky drivers (not using seat belt when driving) are also more likely to engage in lottery (61.0% p< 0.05) and casino gambling (20.4% p< 0.05) than the general population. Overall, 10.2% and 16.6% of respondents that self- reported their health status as excellent and very good, respectively played casino games (p< 0.05). The odds of having a medical diagnosis of depression increases 3 times with participation in casino/table games (OR 2.7; p=0.004).

Conclusion. Recreational gambling is associated with behavioral and mental health disorders.

Learning Areas:

Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate associations between behavioral and mental health disorders, and gambling preference. Analyze odds ratios of risk behaviors (substance use, binge drinking, tobacco use, and risky driving,) associated with recreational gambling. Discuss public health implications and increase awareness of the prevalence of co-occurring behavioral and substance use conditions associated with recreational gambling. Discuss the importance of early public health interventions and prevention efforts through primary care surveillance and screening for gambling symptoms.

Keyword(s): Behavioral Research, Risk Factors/Assesment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral candidate in public health and currently working on my dissertation project assessing the prevalence of gambling, problem gambling, co-occurring conditions and, the availability of treatment providers and services in Massachusetts. I have conducted this research under my adviser supervision.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.