Gambling could easily be considered one of Americaís most prominent entertainment activities. Despite having so many heavy legal restrictions in place, the availability and participation in gambling has been seen an undeniable upsurge in recent years. The internet has enabled both the poker and fantasy football crazes of the last decade. It also makes it possible to play slot and casino games much more easily.
Gamblers may have a problem without spiraling completely out of control but problem gamblers, on the other hand, engage in behaviour that undeniably disrupts their life. The first, and biggest step is simply realizing that one has a problem.
The thing that sets gambling addictions apart from drug addictions is that they have more to do with a lack of impulse control rather than a substance based disorder. Indeed, the Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) observed the rising issue of problem gambling in the USA, identifying problem gambling as much more common than alcohol dependence. Throughout the last decade, over 80% of Americans gamble each year and at least 5% of those develop a serious gambling problem. In fact, around 750,000 of U.S. youth between the ages of 14 and 21 struggle with problem gambling.
Based on the study by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the risk of developing a gambling addiction doubles for youths in college settings. Moreover, statistics have shown a link between serious gambling addictions and the probability of engaging in criminal activity. At least 50% of individuals struggling with gambling problems go on to commit crimes to sustain their addiction.
Interestingly, more and more people contacting helplines or seeking treatment have cited EGMs (Electronic Gaming Machines) as their main form of gambling, on an international level. Incidentally, EGMs also happen to be the method most likely to lead to problem gambling over other any other form of gambling.
Understanding the impact of problem gambling
There are countless ways in which gambling problems could harm an individual and their family. Financially speaking, once problem gambling begins to dip into the family’s savings, their belongings and their property are also at risk of being lost simply to support the individual's addiction. This, in turn, could bring about strong feelings of animosity between family members, leading to the emotional turmoil and shame that only worsens the situation. The problem is a lot more difficult to resolve when the individual is completely isolated and is missing the support they desperately need.
It is no surprise, then, that families under such pressure struggle to cope, particularly when children are involved. The child may begin to feel forgotten, angry, and depressed, thinking that they are the root of the problem. Family violence could also arise in light of gambling problems, in the form of physical or emotional abuse towards the partner or their children.
Furthermore, problem gambling has its impact on an even deeper level. The psychiatric co-morbidities involved could include anxiety, depression and potentially any sort of substance dependence. Regrettably, treatment for problem gambling seems to be far less successful than substance abuse treatments, mostly due to the lack of pharmacological treatment to prevent relapses that is available for drug addicts and alcoholics. Without any suitable pharmacological treatment, there is no way to prevent an individual from gambling at online casinos. SaferGaming.com, a new NGO, has been founded to raise more awareness around these issues and therefore, help sufferers.
The main goal of treatment is to get rid of the overpowering craving of wanting to be in a state of gambling trance, ultimately helping the addict regain control over their own emotions and actions to a level of stability.
College Gambling Facts and Statistics
What are the odds:
Of a college player becoming a pro football player: 3,000 to 1
Of being struck by lightning: 280,000 to 1
Of winning a Powerball jackpot: 140,000,000 to 1
College students and gambling
Youth rates of being at-risk for problem gambling are 2 to 3 times higher
than adult rates.
Nearly all U.S. colleges and universities have policies on student alcohol use;
however, only 22 % have a formal policy on gambling.
Researchers estimate that 75% of college students gambled during the past
year, whether legally or illegally.
Approximately 6% of college students in the U.S have a serious gambling
The most frequently chosen gambling activity for college students is the
lottery at 41%, followed by card games at 38%, and sports betting at 23%.
Sports Betting on College Campuses
About 67% of all college students bet on sports.
Nearly 30% of male athletes bet on sports. The report stated that 26% of
these athletes started gambling prior to high school, and 66% began in high
Athletes are at high risk for sports gambling because of their competitive
personalities, need for action and excitement, perception of social norms,
and sense of entitlement.
A perfect storm
College years associated with a wide range of at risk behaviors
First generation to be exposed to wide-scale legal gambling. Technological
advances make placing bets easier than ever
Operated by governments, commonly endorsed by schools, integrated into mainstream culture
More than ever. Promoted as sport, glamorized, winning bias
Access to cash:
The average college student receives about 25 credit card solicitations per semester (National Public Radio)
Compared to their non-gambling counterparts, students who had gambled in the past year had higher rates of:
Illicit drug use
Unsafe sex after drinking
Signs & Symptoms of a
Preoccupation with thoughts
Asking for larger amounts of
money or gambling more
Personality changes, such as
irritability, restlessness, and
Alienation from family and
Inability to cut back or stop
Lying to friends and family about
how much you gamble
Borrowing to relieve a desperate
financial situation caused by your
Thinking about or committing an
illegal act to finance your
National Council on Problem Gambling, National Council on Responsible Gaming REAP ( Risk Education for Athletes
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