Online Gambling on College Campuses – How to Stay Safe

Did you know that 54% of students say they have gambled at some point during their college years? Managing the stress and anxiety that often comes with college life can lead many students to find different ways to cope—sometimes, that’s by online gambling. 

If you’ve been on social media or turned on the TV lately, odds are you’ve seen an ad for gambling. Some companies, primarily sports betting, are now targeting colleges, making it even more accessible to students and a common issue on college campuses. While online gambling may seem like harmless fun, it is very important to understand that it can become addictive quickly. Knowing the risks and addictive qualities associated with gambling can help you stay responsible, preventing any potentially dangerous habits. 

What Is Online Gambling?

Simply put, online gambling is any kind of gambling conducted on the internet, including virtual poker, casinos, fantasy sports, and sports betting. Gamblers upload funds to an online company, make bets or play games, and then cash out their winnings. With 48 states now allowing some form of gambling, it’s as easy as tapping an app on your phone. 

Why College Students Are At Higher Risk 

Online gambling is accessible everywhere and highly promoted, especially through campaigns on social media. Many students have been exposed to these ads at one point or another with one study finding that a shocking 72% of 18-24 year olds have seen gambling ads through social media. Recently, many sports betting companies have started to infiltrate college campuses, creating an allure around gambling to appear attractive and appealing to students. Because college students are more likely to engage in risky behaviors and take bigger risks, gambling becomes an even bigger threat. 

Much like alcohol or drugs, gambling stimulates the brain’s reward center, making it difficult to stop. When you participate in gambling, you are willing to risk something in the hope of receiving something greater. This neurological response contributes to the addictive nature of gambling, making it a significant concern for college students facing the pressures of academic life. 

Recognizing The Red Flags

A gambling addiction is not a joke and can impact all backgrounds and ages. While casual gamblers can stop when they lose, compulsive gamblers do not. Here are some signs that could indicate a gambling problem: 

  • There is a sudden drop in grades
  • Frequent absences from work or school 
  • Borrowing money frequently 
  • Feeling restless when not gambling
  • Lying to family members or friends to hide gambling behaviors 
  • Losing important relationships or jobs
  • Inability to set limits on time and money when gambling
  • Using gambling as a way to escape problems or relieve feelings 

How Colleges and Universities Can Help

Online gambling is only continuing to increase and many universities are recognizing the impact it has on students. With so many events going on throughout the year, there are plenty of opportunities for colleges to check in with students and effectively address gambling. They can achieve this by: 

  • Launching campus-wide campaigns through posters, social media, and events 
  • Setting clear policies on gambling
  • Providing resources and information to help students make informed decisions about their gambling activities, such as the “Get Set Before You Bet” initiative 
  • Offering counseling services that specifically address addiction
  • Preparing those who work in counseling and health services to support students struggling with addiction
  • Creating environments that promote alternative recreational activities  
  • Encouraging open communication between students and faculty 

Overcoming Gambling Habits

If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling, various resources can help. Consider exploring student clubs, volunteering for an organization, or joining a sports club. These not only offer exciting alternatives but also help establish a supportive community that can make a big difference. It’s never too late to seek help. Whether it’s reaching out to family, friends, or professional counseling services, there are people ready to help support. 

Online gambling is a rising issue that can become a problem for college students either directly or indirectly, and this is increasingly causing some issues on college campuses. Knowing these risks is essential for staying healthy in both your academic and personal life. 

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Use College Raptor’s College Match tool to find colleges that focus on supporting students and creating a positive environment. You can take charge of your future and make smart decisions for a fulfilling and balanced college experience. Your journey to a great college life starts here.

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