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IPGAP: Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program

College Students

Students today have lived their entire lives with legalized gambling. Society has become more and more accepting of gambling. Whether is it playing poker in a dorm room or betting on the internet, there are many opportunities for students to gamble – legal and illegal.

Most people can participate in gambling activities without developing any problems. For most college students, gambling is a recreational activity, it is fun and does not have any negative effects on the students life. For others it can develop into problem or pathological gambling.

How does gambling effect college students? Some of the following consequences can occur with problem or pathological gambling:
  • Spend money they don't have
  • Max out credit cards
  • Lie to family and friends
  • Borrow and steal from others
  • Use other people's credit cards without permission
  • Argue with family and friends about gambling
  • Lose scholarship and job opportunities
  • Commit crimes to gamble or pay off losses
  • Fail or drop out of school
  • Become depressed and have suicidal thoughts
  • Why is problem gambling an issue with college students?
  • Problem gamblers can be of either gender and from any ethnic, social or economic group.
  • A person with a current or past problem with any substance is at higher risk for developing a gambling problem.
  • An estimated 4-8 percent of college students are classified as problem gamblers and about another 10-14 percent are at risk of developing a gambling problem.
  • About 85 percent of college students have been involved in some form of gambling, and 23 percent report being involved on a weekly basis.
  • Problem gamblers ages 18-25 lose an average of $30,000 per year and have about $20,000 to $25,000 in credit card debt.
  • About 29 percent of college students will bet on sports this year.
  • Reasons College Students Gamble
  • Students are not afraid to take risks
  • Increased campus proximity to casinos
  • It’s entertainment
  • To add excitement to sporting events
  • The promise of quick riches
  • Fascination with the stroke of luck
  • Natural adrenaline-induced high
  • Availability of easy credit
  • Accessibility of ATM machines
  • Opportunities for gambling have increased rapidly since the 1990’s, both nationally and in Indiana. In 1989 the State of Indiana began operating the Hoosier Lottery. River boat casinos and horse tracks were approved by the Indiana legislature in the mid‐1990s, and in 2007 the State allowed slot machines to be placed in horse parks. The advent of online gambling and the rapid growth in the popularity of poker have also added to the current environment of gambling.

    2010 Indiana College Substance Use Survey

    A total of 6,524 students from thirteen Indiana colleges participated in the Indiana College Substance Use Survey conducted in Spring 2010. The survey had a 10.3% response rate, with twelve schools administering the survey online and one school utilizing a paper version. Funding was provided by the Indiana Collegiate Action Network through a contract with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, Division of Mental Health and Addiction. The survey was conducted by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center. A complete report may be found at www.drugs.indiana.edu/data-survey_icsus.html.

    Gambling Behaviors

    Opportunities for gambling have increased rapidly since the 1990’s, both nationally and in Indiana. In 1989 the State of Indiana began operating the Hoosier Lottery. River boat casinos and horse tracks were approved by the Indiana legislature in the mid‐1990s, and in 2007 the State allowed slot machines to be placed in horse parks. The advent of online gambling and the rapid growth in the popularity of poker have also added to the current environment of gambling.

    A recent national survey of 18‐21 year olds (Barnes et al., 2010) found that 75% of the college students reported gambling in the past year, which was similar to the rate reported by the noncollege young adults surveyed. The rate of frequent gambling (weekly or more) was lower for U.S. college students (18%) than their non‐college peers (25%). Male college students reported significantly higher prevalence rates of gambling (83% vs. 67%) and frequent gambling (31% vs. 6%) than the female students. The most common form of gambling reported by Indiana students participating in the 2010 Indiana College Substance Use Survey was playing the lottery (31%), followed by playing cards at home (18%). Male Indiana students reported higher rates of gambling than female students for all gambling behaviors investigated. Over one‐third of the male students (35%) played the lottery in the past year, compared to just over one‐quarter (28%) of the female students. Almost three in ten male students (29%) played cards at home for money, compared to one in nine (11%) of the female students. Over one‐fifth of the male students (22%) gambled in betting pools and almost as many (19%) gambled at a casino. Students 21 or older reported significantly higher rates of gambling at a casino (23%), playing the lottery (36%), and gambling on‐line than the younger students. However, students under 21 reported higher rates of playing cards at home for money (19% vs. 17%) (Table 13). Students were asked how frequently they gambled to assess the level of excessive gambling. Two percent of the students played the lottery at least once a week in the past year and one percent reported playing cards at home for money at least weekly (Figure 6). The most common negative consequence of gambling reported by Indiana students was feeling bad about their gambling (5%), followed by financial issues (2%) (Table 14).

    Gambling can be particularly concerning for college athletes who are already competitive. The NCAA rules outline that student athletes may not place any bets of any sort on college or professional sports and that no information may be provided to anyone who does place bets on college or professional sports. It is estimated that over 40% of male student athletes gamble on sports and over 70% of student athletes have gambled since entering college.

  • The FBI estimates more than $2.5 billion is wagered illegally on March Madness.
  • According to the NCAA’s 2003 gambling survey, about 35 percent of male student-athletes and 10 percent of female student-athletes reported wagering on sporting events.
  • Although athletes and non-athletes gamble about the same frequency, about twice as many athletes are problem gamblers.
  • One out of every 20 male student athletes admitted providing inside information for gambling purposes, betting on a game they participated in, or accepting money for purposelessly performing poorly in a game.
  • About 28 percent of athletes have gambled on athletic events.
  • The NCAA has a website to help educate student-athletes, coaches, administrators and the public about NCAA rules on sports wagering: www.dontbetonit.org.

    The Florida council on problem gambling (http://gamblinghelp.org/pages/who-we-serve/college-students.php) has more resources and information available.

    More than six million Americans are addicted to gambling. Problem gambling among college students is characterized by:

  • Gambling for long hours or with more money than intended
  • Lying to friends and family about gambling
  • Borrowing money frequently to gamble
  • Grades dropping due to preoccupation with gambling
  • Unable to stay awake in class from late nights of gambling
  • Wins and losses create mood swings
  • Gambling to escape life's hassles and stressors
  • Arguing with family and friends about your gambling
  • Using tuition, scholarship or book money to pay gambling debts
  • Increasing gambling to try to win back money lost.
  • Problem gambling among friends and loved ones may be seen by:

  • Unexplained absences from school or classes.
  • Sudden drop in grades.
  • Change of personality.
  • Possession of a large amount of money; brags about winnings.
  • An unusual interest in newspapers, magazines or periodicals having to do with horseracing.
  • An intense interest in gambling conversations.
  • Exaggerated display of money and/or material possessions?
  • Visible changes in behavior (e.g. mood changes, behavior problems, etc.)
  • Increased use of gambling language, including the word “bet” in conversation.
  • If you or someone you know has a problem gambling, call 1-800-994-8448.

    Currently in the United States, only 22 percent of colleges and universities have formal policies on gambling. CollegeGambling.org was created by the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) to bridge this gap and to provide students, campus administrators and parents with free, science-based resources for addressing gambling and gambling-related harms on campus.

    The first site of its kind, CollegeGambling.org brings together the latest research and best practices in the field of addiction awareness and prevention in order to provide a substantive and versatile resource that will help schools and their students address this important issue in the way that best fits each school’s needs. http://www.collegegambling.org/about-us

    Presentation
    Factsheets
    LINKS
  • Don't Bet on It
  • Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc.
  • Indiana College Substance Use Survey