Electronic Theses and Dissertations




Tori Horn



Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Committee Chair

James Whelan

Committee Member

Andrew Meyers

Committee Member

Nicholas W Simon


Alcohol is often consumed while gambling and drinking while gambling has fueled considerable discussion about the effects of alcohol consumption on risk taking and wagering intensity. Laboratory studies designed to test this argument have not provided conclusive answers. A contributing factor for these ambiguous findings among studies may be their attention to different levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) among participants. The effects of BAC on risk taking while gambling has yet to be evaluated. We completed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. Eighteen articles (N = 1,611) meeting inclusion criteria were identified. The overall Hedges’ g value for differences in risk-taking between groups consuming and not consuming alcohol was 0.32, 95% CI [0.23, 0.42], p < .001. Analyses revealed a negative linear relation between BAC (range: 0.052 to 0.090%) and risk taking while gambling. A curvilinear relation between BAC and risk taking while gambling was also found. The highest Hedges’ g values were associated with an approximate BAC of 0.06%. Gambling while moderately intoxicated (~0.05-0.07% BAC) appeared to lead to greater risk taking when compared to higher intoxication levels while still revealing significantly higher risk taking compared to no alcohol consumption. Further research exploring risk-taking and gambling behaviors at varying levels of intoxication, particularly below 0.06% BAC, could provide insight into the complex relation between these behaviors. The studies published to date only considered risk-taking while BAC was ascending. Questions about how descending BAC impacts gambling and risk-taking remains untested. These findings have potential implications for the treatment of gambling disorder as well as responsible gambling policies.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.