Help and support for students worried about gambling – Money Week 2023
Research in 2021 showed that 4 in 5 students have gambled at some point in their lives and further research has shown that gambling has become as synonymous with sport as alcohol used to be, especially with betting companies sponsoring certain sports teams and events.
With these statistics in mind there’s a strong likelihood that you may have dabbled in gambling whilst at university and possibly even used your student loan to do so.
Gambling can come in the form of online betting, scratch cards, casinos style instant win smartphone games and the lottery.
It might start off with seemingly harmless games with friends and housemates but the stakes can easily get bigger with more risks being taken to chase that elusive win.
With the ease and accessibility of online and app based betting it can be easy to lose touch with how much money you’ve spent until there’s no money left to pay your essential bills. In turn you might also get caught in a cycle of trying to win that money back which can be a harmful and distressing cycle.
Gambling can be used as a form of escapism much the same as gaming and the hunt for the win thrill high can become addictive so it’s little wonder how it can effortlessly become problematic.
Behaviours to look out for which might indicate you or someone you know has problem gambling are:
- A loss of interest in things that you used to like, such as calling home, seeing your friends or interest in your studies
- Spending unaffordable amounts of money
- Spending a large portion of time gambling
If you are experiencing some of these issues or you just want to curb or cut out your gambling there are practical steps you can take:
Block your online account
GAMSTOP is a free service that allows you to exclude yourself from all online UK licensed gambling websites for a period of six months, one year or five years depending on what you prefer.
It’s good to go for the belt and braces approach and use additional gambling blocking software to manage potential cravings and prevent relapse. GAMBAN is a global app blocking software that can be used to block each of your devices from the websites in addition to GAMSTOP.
Most banks also now offer transactional blocking software, where you can block debit cards for gambling websites and casinos.
Organisations such as GamCare and YGAM offer 24-hour support for anyone affected by a gambling problem. YGAM in particular have created a Student Hub, a resource to support students in particular with any gambling or gaming related issues if you’re worried about yourself or someone else. There is no judgement from these organisations and they are very experienced in supporting students.
And of course you can come to us at the Student Advice Service. We are a confidential non-judgmental service and we will respond any of your enquiries on this matter openly, sensitively and mindfully.
We are aware that many of you are struggling to manage on your student loans during this cost of living crisis and with research showing that 46% of students who gamble do so to make more money we appreciate now more than ever that what may have started as a small dabble may have snowballed into something unmanageable and we are here to help you get back on track and support you with your financial concerns.
To help us understand more about the dangers of gambling, representatives from Student Operations and Support (Student Advice, Sport Brighton, SSGTs and Wellbeing) are receiving training from charity sector experts Gambling with Lives as part of their new Train the Trainer pilot which demonstrates the university’s commitment to supporting students with these issues.
Student Advice Service