This section is designed to help campus health professionals prepare to answer questions that arise as you confront the challenge of college gambling addiction.
College gambling programs are vital for preventing and combating gambling addiction at an early age. Studies have shown that teenagers and college-aged young adults are more impulsive and at higher risk for developing gambling disorders than adults. While most college students who gamble do so responsibly, the most recent research estimates that 6 percent of college students in the U.S. have a serious gambling problem that can result in psychological difficulties, unmanageable debt and failing grades.
Gambling disorder can be associated with numerous negative consequences and is highly correlated with other risky behaviors in the college student population. Students who use tobacco, drink heavily or binge drink, smoke marijuana or use other illegal drugs, drive under the influence or have a low GPA are more likely to gamble.
While 75 percent of college students gambled during the past year (whether legally or illegally), only 22 percent of U.S. colleges and universities have formal policies on gambling.
Based on the most recent estimates, it appears that college students are gambling more. A 2010 study estimates that 75 percent gambled in the past year. A study published in 2003 estimated that 42 percent gambled in the past year. Keep in mind, however, that students have always gambled as far back as the 19th century.
There is no evidence in the existing research to suggest this is the case. Research does show, however, that nearly 70 percent of Americans aged 14 to 19 years gambled in the past year, wagering money on poker, the lottery, sports and a variety of other games. Teens and college students are gambling, so it’s important for higher education institutions to put in place science-based policies and programs to address this reality.
Schools that have published gambling policies and published policies prohibiting on-campus legal-aged drinking and/or prohibiting alcohol at on-campus events have significantly lower binge drinking rates than those without such gambling and alcohol-related policies in place.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has identified gambling by athletes as a major threat to the integrity of intercollegiate athletics and has responded with the development of a comprehensive education program called Don’t Bet on It. In addition, research indicates that both student athletes and students who are sports fans gamble more often than other students, indicating that these subgroups are appropriate targets for prevention efforts.
By gambling activity:
Several approved educational opportunities are available for counselors throughout the year, including the ICRG Annual Conference on Gambling and Addiction. The ICRG also offers free webinars, which can be accessed from anywhere via the Internet. Visit Events on www.icrg.org for information about the conference and the webinars.The ICRG is an approved education provider of the American Psychological Association, NBCC (National Board for Certified Counselors) and NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals.
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