Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 299–324 | Cite as

Alcohol’s Effects on Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) Play Among Probable Pathological and Non-Pathological Gamblers

  • Michael Ellery
  • Sherry H. Stewart
  • Pamela Loba

This study tested whether alcohol increases behaviors associated with video lottery terminal (VLT) play, particularly among probable pathological gamblers. Forty-four regular VLT players were designated either probable pathological gamblers or non-pathological gamblers on the basis of scores on the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS); [Lesieur & Blume (1997). American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 1184–1188] Gamblers from each SOGS category were randomly assigned to either a moderately intoxicating alcohol dose or a control beverage condition (n = 11 per cell in the 2 × 2 between-subjects design). Following beverage consumption and absorption, participants played a video poker VLT game for up to 30 minutes. Four behaviors were measured: “power-bets” (doubling bet after viewing only two cards of the five-card poker hand); total money spent; mean bet magnitude; and number of minutes played. Alcohol increased time spent playing and rate of power-bets, particular among the probable pathological gamblers. Post hoc analyses revealed that alcohol also influenced the proportion of losing hands played––increasing them among the probable pathological gamblers while decreasing them among the non-pathological gamblers. Clinical and policy implications of the findings are discussed.

Key words

alcohol gambling video lottery terminals (VLTs) experimental methodology laboratory-based study electronic gambling machines (EGMs) pathological gambling alcohol use disorder comorbidity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Ellery
    • 1
  • Sherry H. Stewart
    • 1
  • Pamela Loba
    • 1
  1. 1.Dalhousie Gambling Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Life Sciences CentreDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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