Ygam calls for further education on gambling harms for students

A number of recommendations have been made after new research suggested that one in four students who gamble may be experiencing harm, while one in two say that gambling has affected their university experience.

That is according to Censuswide, who surveyed 2,000 students in a follow-up to a 2022 commission by Ygam and GAMSTOP.

Of those quizzed, 71 per cent had gambled in the last 12 months, 28 per cent of which were found to be at ‘moderate risk’ while 24 per cent had behaviour categorised as ‘problem gambling’. 

Half of all respondents reported that gambling had impacted their university experience, with 13 per cent reporting trouble paying for food, 10 per cent missing lectures and tutorials, 10 per cent noting issues with assignments and grades, and nine per cent struggling to pay bills or for accommodation. 

In addition, 45 per cent of those who gamble were also unaware of the support available to them from their universities.   

Almost one in two students who gamble (48 per cent) say they gamble to make money, but only 11% reported winning money in an average week. 

One in three said that they spend £11-£20 per week on gambling; nearly one in four (23 per cent) spend £21-£50; and 13 per cent spend £51-£100. However, 4.5 per cent say they gamble because they are unable to stop. 

Along with savings and their own earnings, some students are borrowing money to fund their gambling, with eight per cent lending from family and friends and six per cent using payday loans.  

Furthermore, over 40 per cent of students have bought cryptocurrency in the last year, which is higher than the figure for the overall population. 

Dr Jane Rigbye, Chief Executive Officer at Ygam, said: “These findings give us insight into the attitudes and behaviours of students towards gambling. Building on the data published last year, we can now see that not only are a large percentage of the student population gambling on a regular basis, many of them are doing so in a way that may cause them to experience harm.  

“The data further emphasises the importance of educating our young people on the risks associated with gambling. We’re working with our partners to tour university campuses across the UK to speak to students, deliver specialist training to university staff and to raise awareness. 

“It is crucial that universities engage and take this issue seriously. We aim to work closely with many more universities to ensure they can help prevent the harms and support their students when they need it.” 

The report also disclosed three key recommendations as a result of the findings, which first calls for investments to be made in universal prevention education in schools to help prepare young people to be resilient to the risks related to gambling before their transition to university. 

It was also suggested that gambling harms should be considered as part of every university’s health and wellbeing strategy, with urges made for further research to be conducted to better understand the experiences of students who gamble and how harms can be better prevented.