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The Lockdown Gamble

The NUS has expressed concerns in a rise of online gambling due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

For many students the odds of only minor illness from Covid-19 may be in your favour.

But that luck doesn’t measure up to your chances when you enter the bright and shiny world of online gambling.

One thing you can bet on is that the current climate will bring its financial challenges for many students, with many paying rent for homes left unoccupied, losing part-time employment and coming to the end of the student finance cycle.

The National Union of Students launched research related to student gambling at the beginning of 2019 and its results led to the Gambling Commission warning institutions to do more to raise the awareness of problem gambling in students.


image credit: nus.org.uk

With more time on their hands – perhaps even more so than usual – the fear of increased levels of gambling is very much a live one, with the potential for an increase on the figures from 2019, where one-in-ten students admitted to using their student loan to fund the habit.

More worrying might be that around half (48%) were gambling in the hope of making a quick dollar.

A quick dollar possible? Absolutely. But it is far from guaranteed.

Eva Crossan, NUS Vice President said the organistion was “particularly concerned that around half of students who gamble are doing primarily to make money.

“There needs to be a renewed focus on the reasons why some students feel it is necessary to supplement the income through gambling – which not only land students in even greater debt, but can also lead to feelings of guilt, stress and depression.”

Gamban – an application which can be downloaded to prevent access to gambling sites and apps – say that students are especially susceptible to have an addiction festering from a harmless leisure activity – mainly for financial reasons.

image credit: Wikipedia

They’ve also linked the increase of 56% in student suicide between 2007 and 2016 to the corresponding rise in online gambling over this period – although other factors will also have contributed to this.

Gamcare – a charity offering support information and advice on gambling – consider students to be an ‘at risk group’ due to the potential of loneliness, stress and boredom.

Ministers have called on the government to intervene to prevent problem gambling occurring during lockdown.

Regular and comprehensive data to show gambling habits during lockdown have since been requested after the Advertising Standards Authority informed of a jump in gambling-related complaints since the beginning of the pandemic.

This increase correlates to an increase in visits and stakes on online casino, poker, slots and virtual while all live sport has been cancelled.

It is important to remember the old saying; the house always wins.

If you are concerned your own gambling or someone else’s, visit Gamcare.org.uk or call 0808 802 0133 for free.

Feature image credit: asia gambling brief

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