A survey conducted at various UK universities and interviewing 2,003 students in December 2022 established that 71% of all students interviewed had gambled in the 12 months prior to the time of asking the questions. To get to this result, Gamstop and Ygam commissioned a study from Censuswide, a research company.
Students Gamble in Unexpected Numbers
According to the survey’s findings at least 28% of interviewed students were at moderate risk of becoming addicted or exhibiting problem gambling behavior. However, 24% of respondents were in fact classified as problem gamblers, the study confirmed.
Another 50% of all respondents confirmed that they had seen their studying impacted by gambling. Some 13% said that they had struggled with paying for food as a result of their gambling habits. Another 10% added that they missed lectures and other educational sessions to gamble, and 10% said that they had seen their grades and assignments deteriorating because of gambling habits.
Another 9% were struggling with paying bills at their accommodation while studying. The study went a step further to try and take a multi-pronged approach towards analyzing the root causes of gambling and how some were able to balance while others could not.
The interviewees had to answer questions modeled after the Problem Gambling Severity Index, which is the national benchmark for measuring what gambling-related issues individuals may be experiencing. It’s also a good scientific gauge when it comes to trying to determine how likely people are to suffer because of gambling.
Digging into the numbers further, the study established that 45% of the students who had gambled in the prior 12 months were unaware that their universities actually offered support for people who are struggling with gambling problems.
Another 48% said that they were gambling in the hopes of making money – a worrying trend since gambling is advertised as an activity that is supposed to be taken as entertainment and not a source of financial stability.
No Reward, High Risk, and Problem Gambling
Fittingly, only 11% reported that they had made money once a week on average. A third of all students who gambled confirmed that they bet around $25 on weekly bets. Another 23% said that they gambled up to $60 a week, and another 13% were spending around $60 and $120 a week.
The study was very comprehensive in successfully pinpointing the habits and risk factors of students. Some 8% of interviewees said that they had borrowed money to sustain their gambling habit – either from family or friends. Payday loans were used by 6% of respondents, another worrying trend.
The study also looked into how students perceived other high-risk assets, such as cryptocurrencies. More than 40% of interviewees had bought a digital currency. Ygam chief executive Dr Jane Rigbye has urged the government to act and protect young people by educating them on the risk of problem gambling. Rigbye added:
We can now see that not only are a large percentage of the student population gambling on a regular basis, many of them are doing so in a way that may cause them to experience harm.
Ygam chief executive Dr Jane Rigbye
But for any significant change to be made says Rigbye, universities will have to recognize the problem and prioritize the issue as a serious matter that needs addressing.