Your students could be at risk. Are you doing enough?
Is there a problem with gambling on campus?
- In 2015-16, GambleAware funded treatment for a total of 379 clients in the north of England aged between 15-24; 10% were students
- According to the National Student Money Survey 2016, 8 out of 10 students in the UK worry about money while studying.
- One in ten UK university students has gambled in an attempt to make money (Save the Student).
- 54% of students who gamble do so to make money
We anticipate, with the rise in popularity of eSports and skins-based gambling, that many more students will develop problems, partly due to the fact that this kind of gambling-as-gaming feels less obvious and more disguised than more traditional forms of gambling dependency – but it’s still gambling. And it’s growing at an alarming rate.
Independence: For many, this will be a first time away from home
Access to Money: For many, this opportunity will offer the responsibility of access to large sums of money
For many, this could be a dangerous combination
What are the risks?
- Financial problems as a result of compulsive gambling and overspend
- Negative / low satisfaction university experiences with reduced attendance and increased course drop-outs (impact on rankings)
- Overcrowded student care and wellbeing due to underestimation of the problem and difficulty identifying from tangental symptoms
- Mental health issues from the emotional consequences of gambling addiction – in particular: depression, self-esteem and anxiety
- Suicide ideation
- Trouble forming and maintaining relationships leading to isolation, loneliness, aggression and withdrawal.
What are we doing to help?
The Gambling Commission is calling for more advice and guidance to help prevent students from becoming hooked. It wants universities to provide the same level of information and support about the risks from gambling as they do for drugs, alcohol and safe sex.
Jack Symons and Matthew Zarb-Cousin, two of the three founders of gamban® both experienced gambling addiction for the first time at University. As a result, we decided to open up our software and make it available for free to all students in the UK and Ireland, helping to minimise risk of gambling-related harm.
Anyone with a verified “email@example.com” email address can have protection on up to three devices for three years and licences can be obtained here: https://gamban.com/sales/students
We decided this would be a good idea because, unfortunately, there is still a stigma around gambling addiction and by structuring the access to our software in this way, individuals do not have to talk if they do not wish to. Gambling has come to be known as the ‘hidden’ addiction and we don’t want people to suffer in silence – like we did.
What can you do to help?
All the founders at gamban® are asking from Universities is to raise the discussion of gambling-related harm to the same level to that of alcohol and drugs.
By way of increasing awareness on campus, we recommend:
- Hiring student campaigners to discuss gambling issues facing students
- Reduce the stigma of gambling addiction by encouraging students to take back control of their finances
- Holding education events on the topic of gambling and gambling-related harm
- Be proactive on the subject of gambling-related harm – don’t wait for students to come forward – it’s too late then.
- Hall drops and information in public areas (including student bars and noticeboards)
- Leaflet distribution in Unions, Student Care Services and Wellbeing Hubs.
However this cannot be the end of the conversation: we need to consider the serious impact that gambling is having student debt. In particular, we need to look how many betting companies are preying upon student vulnerabilities, with those with existing mental health issues at greater risk. This means encouraging institutions and students’ unions to offer proper guidance and support, but also looking at new regulatory measures to crack down on this. Shakira Martin