Whether it’s being away from home for the first time or the allure of easy money, college-aged students are the most likely people to develop life-long problem gambling problems.
This week The Responsible Gambling Council’s Know the Score 2 made a stop in Thunder Bay, and on Monday visited Confederation College where they asked students to fill out questionnaires about their personal gambling habits.
Danielle Ayee, a co-ordinator with the program, said they’re not sure why college-aged students are bitten by the gambling bug so frequently, though she has some theories.
“We do know at this age they are risk-takers. They’re away from home for the first time, they’re experimenting with different things and they’re legal to drink for the first time. So gambling might just be one of the things they’re experimenting with,” Ayee said.
There’s a thin line between recreational gambling for fun and the development of a problem, but the signs are there to see, she added.
“Some of the things we say are signs to watch for are skipping class or work to gamble, borrowing money to gamble, lying about money or time spent gambling or thinking it’s more important than your family and friends.”
It’s getting more and more easy to gamble, with the advent of the Internet putting bets just a click away. And there’s something for everyone’s interest, Ayee said.
“We have four modules of our program, actually. We focus on casinos, sports betting, poker and online gambling,” she said. “We realize all sorts of gambling has risks, but we do focus on those four as something they can relate to.
“What we do know is gambling is risking something of value on something with an uncertain outcome. So it could be anything. It could be a card game, it could be betting on Pro Line or it could be betting at school.”
Knowing you – or a loved – one is the first step, she said, adding Know the Score 2 is handing out literature with a hotline number for problem gamblers or their family or friends to phone if trouble does arise.
Ed Decorte is a second-year student at Confederation College and says he occasionally gambles, but hasn’t developed an addiction. Nor have any of his friends.
But he understands why it can be an attractive form of entertainment.
“It’s easy money (some people think),” he said.
Sometimes it’s just too easy to get caught up in a bad situation, Decorte added.
“The money is there. You have money in your pocket and it just goes away really fast,” he said.
Tips for gamblers of all ages include only gambling with money you can afford to lose, not chasing your losses and setting limits and sticking to them.
Students who took part in the questionnaire and answered all five questions correctly were eligible to win a $1,500 scholarship.
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