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£20,000 losses and late-night casino binges: the student gambling epidemic

Jun 20, 2018 by

Three former addicts tell their stories of gambling at university – and explain what can be done to prevent more young people falling into the trap

The cocktail of new-found freedom at university, easy availability of borrowed money and the ever-present opportunity to gamble has driven some students to academic failure, bankruptcy and mental health problems.

Gambling is a growing issue for students at British universities. The Gambling Commission estimated that more than 100,000 students are in debt due to their habit, with one in four of those indebted beyond £10,000.

Stopping gambling is more difficult than it might seem. Online bookmakers have plied ex-gamblers with targeted ads attempting to lure them back, while thousands of people who self-excluded have still been able to access their accounts. Meanwhile, there is precious little support for this type of problem on university campuses, beyond traditional counselling. The issue was highlighted by the NUS last month when it partnered with Gamban, an app which blocks gambling sites.

Here, three ex-students describe how they became addicted to gambling at university and what can be done to prevent more young people falling into the trap.

‘I lied to family and friends to borrow money’

I would lose my student loan almost as soon as I received it. Hours of free time during the day at university did not suit me well. Every man and his dog in my year gambled; it was so widespread that among a group of friends you may be the odd one out if you haven’t had a flutter on a game you were watching. Soon, that bet on the football becomes an expensive, drunken night at the casino that you regret the next day. Then you’re always trying to make your losses back.

Source: £20,000 losses and late-night casino binges: the student gambling epidemic | Education | The Guardian

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