Problem Gambling Among College Students Posted On

Over the past few months, we’ve explored the hidden, and sometimes not-so-hidden, effects of problem gambling on several different groups, including senior citizens and our military personnel. Another group that needs additional discussion and awareness of problem gambling is college students.

Many studies suggest that the rate of problem gambling in college students is alarmingly high, with one stating it affects as many as six percent of students. That’s more than double the rate of the general population.

Why Do College Students Gamble? 

There are many different motivations that could influence a student to turn to gambling. As we already know, many addictions can arise from the combination of boredom, emptiness and chronic low self-esteem. These are all normal feelings that many college students may grapple with during their studies.

Some students may just be seeking fun and enjoyment. College students are typically faced with mounting stress as large assignments pile up every semester. They may be feeling the growing pressure of classes and peers and may seek to escape through gambling. Some other reasons student gamble may include:

  • Gambling to make money, or “get rich”
  • Placing bets with friends or to meet new people
  • As a form of competition with friends
  • College years are associated with at-risk behaviors already, such as drinking and trying drugs.
  • A coping method to deal with depression and anxiety
  • Access to cash through parents or credit card offers
  • College is their opportunity to do so without their parents knowing

College Students: How Can You Stop Gambling?

If you feel your gambling has gotten out of hand or is at risk to become problematic, there is help available. Make your need to stop gambling your priority, and actively work to strengthen your personal commitment. Most colleges also have free on-campus counseling services that you can visit to find support for your addiction recovery. When you choose to begin your recovery, find other, healthier ways to relax from the stress of college life. Consider joining student clubs, volunteer organizations or intramural sports teams!

As well, think about with whom you choose to spend your free time. If they influence you to gamble, you may have to reconsider with whom you hang out.

Consider how your gambling is affecting the people around you, including your family at home and your roommates in school, and communicate with them when you’re in need. Family members and friends will want to see you succeed, and it’s helpful to draw strength from their love and support.

Stay Safe from Problem Gambling While Away at College

Are you concerned about your gambling?

  • Is it distracting you from your schoolwork and assignments?
  • Is it keeping you from joining other activities and organizations?
  • Is it distancing you from people at school and at home?
  • Is it keeping you up at night?

These are just some of the warning signs of problem gambling.

Remember the number for the NYS HOPEline (1-877-8-HOPENY or 1-877-846-7369). If you believe your gambling is becoming a problem, or a college student you know is struggling with it, contact the HOPEline for assistance and support. Professional counselors are available through the NYS HOPEline 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Do not hesitate to call if you need assistance.