The Stimulating Nature of Gambling Behaviors: Relationships Between Stimulant Use and Gambling Among Adolescents

  • Jérémie Richard
  • Marc N. Potenza
  • William Ivoska
  • Jeffrey Derevensky
Original Paper


Adolescence represents a significant developmental period during which experimentation with high-risk behaviors including substance use and gambling often occurs. These high-risk behaviors have been associated with multiple negative measures of social, academic and psychological functioning. Although associations have been established between alcohol use, marijuana use, mental health problems, and problem gambling in youth, research investigating possible associations between stimulant drug use and gambling is scarce. Questionnaire responses were collected from 6542 high-school students aged 12–19 years. Relationships between types and patterns of gambling with stimulant drugs [including cocaine, methamphetamine, non-medical use of stimulants, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)] were examined. Chi square analyses with odds ratio calculations revealed the use of any stimulant was associated with an increased odds of gambling frequency and problem gambling among both males and females. Self-reported use of crack cocaine was associated with a higher risk of frequent gambling and use of methamphetamines was associated with a higher risk of at-risk/problem gambling. Individuals using stimulants six or more times in the past year had high likelihoods of frequent and at-risk/problem gambling behaviors. The results contribute to our understanding of stimulant drug use and its associations with gambling behaviors among high-school youth.


Adolescence At-risk gambling Frequent gambling Stimulant use 



Dr. Potenza’s involvement was supported in part by: (1) the National Center for Responsible Gaming from a Center of Excellence Research Grant, (2) the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, (3) the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and (4) Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling. The funding agencies did not provide input into the content of the manuscript beyond the grant funding. The other authors have no sources of funding to declare.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interests with respect to the content of this manuscript. Dr. Potenza (directly or to Yale) has received financial support or compensation for the following. Dr. Potenza has consulted for Ironwood, Lundbeck, Shire, INSYS, RiverMend Health, Opiant/Lightlake Therapeutics, and Jazz Pharmaceuticals; has received research support from Mohegan Sun Casino, the National Center for Responsible Gaming, and Pfizer pharmaceuticals; has participated in surveys, mailings or telephone consultations related to drug addiction, impulse control disorders or other health topics; has consulted for law offices and gambling entities on issues related to addictive disorders; has provided clinical care in the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Problem Gambling Services Program; has performed grant reviews for the National Institutes of Health and other agencies; has edited or guest-edited journals or journal sections; has given academic lectures in grand rounds, CME events and other clinical or scientific venues; and has generated books or book chapters for publishers of mental health texts.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jérémie Richard
    • 1
  • Marc N. Potenza
    • 2
    • 3
  • William Ivoska
    • 4
  • Jeffrey Derevensky
    • 1
  1. 1.International Centre for Youth Gambling and High-Risk BehaviorsMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Connecticut Mental Health Center and the Departments of Psychiatry, Child Study and NeuroscienceYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Connecticut Council on Problem GamblingWethersfieldUSA
  4. 4.Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Wood County OhioBowling GreenUSA

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