Rolling the dice on student loans – 12/03/19

The NUS has conducted research into the gambling habits of students at university. Gambling ranges from buying scratch cards over the counter to playing poker at casinos.

Research showed that over half of students who gambled did so to supplement their income, and that nearly a quarter of those gambling feel guilty when doing so. This could also be seen to link to how gambling links with mental health. Those who have struggled with their mental health  when gambling  name stress and depression as the most common feelings.

The research conducted leads to the conclusion that universities should be doing more to support their students and offer guidance on gambling and also how gambling can affect your mental health. Awareness must be raised to show that although gambling can lead to an increase in cash flow, there are unsafe risks when it comes to gambling. Betting, poker and bingo can be addictive. Highspeedtraining.co.uk discusses that Gambling is addictive, “the brain becomes conditioned into wanting more and more to trigger its reward system”. The article reveals that now Gambling addiction is being taken more seriously, and “it’s now recognised as an addiction akin to substance addiction.”

Recently, Gambling has become and norm within society, going on slot machines in a pub, going along to the bingo with your friends or buying a scratch card when popping to the local shops has become an activity of habit. The increase of online gambling has increased dramatically in recent years, instead of taking the trip to a casino or a bingo hall, students are increasingly gambling online, using sights like 888poker.com, paddypower.com and tombola.com. Gambling is now more accessible than ever, you don’t have to leave home, or even your sofa.

When asked why he occasionally plays poker, student Lee Casey commented “I enjoy it, but I also play for the thrill. I like playing against an opponent aside from having that element of luck.” Casey appears to hold the same reasons for gambling and playing poker than most, Casey further commented that “It’s the fun and the thrill. And you might even win.”.

NUS Vice President (welfare), Eva Crossan Jory stated, ”We are particularly concerned that around half of students who gamble are doing primarily to make money. The student support package has remained stagnant and in recent years has not kept up with the rising cost of living.” It is easy to see why students my turn to gambling as a quick way to make extra money to add to their student loans, however the risk that is involved in gambling cannot be ignored.

With the rise of gambling amongst students, NUS have teamed up with Gamban gambling blocking software. This software will be offered free to all students. Although this software may seem to be a dramatic step to deter student gambling, The Gambling Commission and the NUS surveyed 1618 students in Higher Education and found that 1 in 8 students will bet more money than they can afford to lose, with 1 in 10 using a part of their student loan to gamble with. These attitudes towards gambling and finances could be seen as being irresponsible. Student’s unions across the country are continuing to support students with addiction concerns and financial instability with the help of student support services.

Hopefully with the introduction of widespread advice about the risks of gambling, students will understand the negatives of gambling more, and keep them in mind when playing poker, bingo or when purchasing scratch cards.

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