A new survey commissioned by safer gambling charities GAMSTOP and YGAM has revealed insights into university students gambling habits and spending.
Taking feedback from 2,000 Students across UK campuses, the survey undertaken by research agency CensusWide revealed that 80% of participants had gambled.
Of those students, 41% admitted that gambling had a “negative impact on their university experience, including missing lectures, assignments deadlines and social activities”.
Further feedback from the group revealed that more than one-third of respondents (35%) had borrowed money from friends, overdraft facilities or payday loans to gamble.
Whilst further concerns revealed that nearly one in five (19%) students admitted to using their student loans to gamble.
“Gambling-related harm on our campuses is a subject that is rarely addressed, but for any students experiencing problems with their gambling, self-exclusion can give them valuable breathing space whilst they seek additional help,” remarked Fiona Palmer, CEO of GAMSTOP.
“With online gambling increasingly prevalent during the pandemic, the research shows the importance of raising awareness of a free online self-exclusion service, which is accessible to all.”
With regards to expenditure, research reported that the mean spend for students on gambling was registered at £31.52 per week.
A breakdown on spend noted that 18% of participants admitted to spending more than £50 per week gambling. Yet, 45% of respondents detailed that they spent no more than £10 a week on gambling.
On participation, nearly four in ten (38%) said they gambled at least once a week, with 63% gambling at least once a month.
A product breakdown saw the National Lottery register as the most popular gambling product – played by 32% of participants – followed by online sports betting (25%) and online bingo (18%).
Further responses revealed that more than one in three (36%) students had invested in cryptocurrency during the last 12 months – compared to just 17% of students who do not gamble.
A desire to ‘make money’ was detailed by almost half of participants (49%) as their prime motivation to gamble, with a further 25% stating that they ‘enjoyed the risk of gambling’.
Of importance to the charities, feedback revealed that friends were cited as the biggest ‘influence to gamble’ by 34% of participants. Meanwhile, social media was identified by nearly one in four (23%) respondents as their main influence, above the 14% who identified advertising as their driver.
Daniel Bliss, Director of External Affairs at YGAM, said: “This research provides us with some valuable insights into the behaviours of students during the pandemic. We’re keen to build on this piece of work to better understand how our programmes can safeguard and support students.
“The findings reiterate the importance of educating our young people on the risks and harms associated with gambling. Education is a powerful tool to ensure students are equipped with the knowledge and understanding to help prevent harm.”
Following the publication of the research, education charity YGAM is joining forces with GAMSTOP and RecoverMe, an app that provides self-help tools to those suffering from a gambling problem.
The trio of organisations will embark on a ‘Gambling Support University Tour’ which will see visits to university campuses throughout the UK to speak to students and university staff.
YGAM will also be offering City & Guilds assured training to the university teams to better equip them to support their students – who can arrange individual appointments via – [email protected]
Adil Nayeem, Co-founder of RecoverMe, said: “This research highlights how the student population can be a high-risk group for gambling-related harm. We created RecoverMe when one of our close friends at university struggled with a gambling addiction and did not know where to turn.
“RecoverMe gives students multiple strategies to manage acute urges and support those suffering from a gambling problem with a discreet, flexible and evidence-based programme”.