Census-wide research shows UK students at risk of gambling harms

According to a study by the research company Census-wide, 35% of university students in the UK have borrowed money to gamble at least once. This has raised concerns about young people showing signs of gambling harm.

The results of the Censuswide survey

The survey was commissioned by the Young Players and Players Education Trust and Gamstop, an online self-exclusion tool. A total of 2,000 students participated in the research. Here are the results:

According to the data, 80% of students have played at least once. More than a third of respondents (35%) confirmed that they had borrowed money to gamble. This includes a variety of sources such as asking friends for money and taking out payday loans. Additionally, 19% said they took money from their student loans to fuel their hobby.

The majority (45%) spent no more than $14 per week on gambling. Still, some spent as much as $68 per week (18%). The most popular betting product seems to be the National Lottery with 32% of young punters preferring its offers. 25% take part in sports betting and 18% find bingo to their liking.

Most students who bet (63%) would do so at least once a month. More than a third (38%) would gamble at least once a week.

A total of 41% of students said that gambling has had a negative effect on their academic life.

What can be done to prevent students from becoming problem gamblers?

Asked about their motivation, 46% said they use gambling as a way to earn money. Among all student players, around 25% said they enjoyed the thrill of an uncertain outcome. Overall, most students felt excited when playing, with only around 20% admitting to feeling anxious while doing so.

It seems that the majority (34%) decide to get into the game because of their peers. The rest see either social media ads (23%) or some other type of ad (14%).

Spokespersons for Gamstop and YGAM commented on the results. Daniel Bliss, the External Affairs Director of YGAM, commented:

“This research provides us with valuable insights into student behaviors during the pandemic. We want to build on this work to better understand how our programs can protect and support students.

YGDAM director of external affairs Daniel Bliss

He added that responsible gambling education is key to helping university students learn to be responsible adults.

Fiona Palm Tree, the chief executive of Gamstop said that many people tend to be unaware of the extent of gambling problems among students on campus. For this reason, it is crucial to teach young people the tools of self-exclusion.

The two organizations that commissioned the survey found the above figures concerning. For this reason, they will work with the gambling addiction management app RecoverMe and launch educational materials aimed at students. The goal is to warn students of the dangers of gambling and to help them make informed decisions and avoid becoming compulsive gamblers.

Adil Nayem, the co-founder of RecoverMe, also spoke on the subject:

“This research highlights how the student population may be a high-risk group for gambling-related harms. RecoverMe provides students with multiple strategies to manage acute urges and support those who suffer from problem gambling with a discreet, flexible and evidence-based program.

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