The legalization of marijuana across the U.S. parallels that of online gambling. If you peered at a map where both industries were legal, it might look the same. Voters have been demanding change along with their respective governors. Marijuana prohibition remains outdated as the new laws back that up.
Let’s look at how marijuana impacts the burgeoning online gambling world.
Marijuana and Gambling
Legal marijuana has been spreading across the U.S. like a wildfire. Twenty states now offer legal weed to citizens. Medicinal marijuana remains illegal in only half a dozen states. Of those six, two decriminalized it.
Here are nine out of 19 states yet to decriminalize marijuana:
- South Carolina
Sports betting also remains illegal in those states. Marijuana and gambling continue to assert themselves as divisive issues. But they keep trending “up and to the right.” In Las Vegas—America’s gambling mecca—gamblers may access cannabis lounges starting in 2023.
The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (NCCB) approved regulations for these lounges. As the final hurdle, 40 cannabis cafes should open next year. Local dispensaries get dibs to half those licenses.
CNBC reported on cannabis drinks in an expanding legal marijuana market. As an alternative to booze, cannabis beverages might tally $1 billion in sales by 2025.
That’s on par with the U.S. online gambling market. Pegged at $2.65 billion in 2021, the industry might be worth $7.61 billion by 2028.
But how does consuming marijuana impact online gambling?
Marijuana’s Effects on Gambling Online
In 2012, a study by Concordia University analyzed 8,500 offline and online gamblers. They found that online gamblers were more likely to use alcohol and marijuana. In other studies, an estimated 20% of those with a “marijuana use disorder” also had a “gambling disorder.” Of young adult gamblers, 30% used cannabis in the previous three months.
Marijuana users displayed “increased responses to monetary rewards and losses.” That came in contrast to those who didn’t use weed. For most users, marijuana offers euphoric and relaxing effects. With larger doses, one might experience fear or anxiety.
A Mashable article from 2022 discussed the connection between weed and video games. Science doesn’t study that link too often, if ever. The article points out marijuana’s Schedule I classification by the federal government. It’s difficult to assert how THC and CBDs impact a person’s gambling abilities. Gambling and weed both affect a person’s release of dopamine. Chasing a good feeling may increase a gambler’s desire to win. Learning how to play fish table games while stoned sounds like fun.
Smoking or vaping before gambling online might also help you to focus. That depends on the user, the amount, and the game you play. For example, say you enter a roulette table. If you are sober, you might gamble conservatively. With a smaller bankroll, you may play “tight.” That helps with bankroll management. But you won’t get anywhere betting in small amounts. There may even be more downside than up in that scenario.
Say you use a small amount of marijuana before you enter that roulette table. Will your betting style change? You might decide to bet “loose” and take more risks. Then it makes things more entertaining.
Using Marijuana and Gambling: What Are the Downsides?
Using marijuana and gambling acts as an ephemeral relationship. It doesn’t last too long. If there are any downsides, they might begin in the realm of morality. Again, that depends on the user, and it’s a personal preference. That’s what gambling is all about. It’s up to the player to make their own decisions.
A May 2022 article in The Atlantic dubbed the sports-betting boom a “moral disaster.” Using words like “immoral” and “harmful” misses the point. In previous studies, only 1-3% of players represented problem gamblers. That’s a small amount. Some states direct almost half their gambling revenue to address gambling issues.
Gambling’s downsides might be easier to study. But the pros far outweigh the cons. For some gamblers, their marijuana use might pair with a losing streak. Any decent gambler should know when to walk away or take a break.
If you’re in Las Vegas, it won’t be long before you can take that respite in a cannabis cafe.
The impact of marijuana consumption on online gambling is hazy at best. There’s plenty of speculation involved along with personal choice. And that’s what online gambling represents.
Players use problem-solving methodologies based on odds and probabilities. First-time gamblers may also get the benefit of online promotions. In what other entertainment niche do you receive $1,000 in bonus loot?
The fun in gambling comes from trying to win more than you lose. If marijuana helps to that effect, then why not give it a try?