UK University Students Borrow Money To Gamble, Study Says

January 19, 2022
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More than a third of UK university students are using borrowed money to gamble, from payday loans to their student loan or overdrafts, according to a new survey.

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More than a third of UK university students are using borrowed money to gamble, from payday loans to their student loan or overdrafts, according to a new survey.

About 80 percent of students had gambled, and more than 40 percent said gambling led to negative experiences such as missing out on lectures, assignment deadlines and social activities, according to a December survey of 2,000 students held on behalf of GAMSTOP, the UK self-exclusion programme, and YGAM, a charity which works with young and vulnerable gamblers.

Mean gambling spend was £31.52 per week, and 18 percent of those surveyed said they spent more than £50 per week, according to the study. About 38 percent said they gamble once a week or more.

About 19 percent were using student loan proceeds to gamble. Additionally, about 46 percent said making money was the main stimulus to gamble.

Students who gamble were more likely to have invested in crypto-assets in the past 12 months, by a 36 percent to 17 percent margin, according to the survey.

A Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) spokesman said that problem gambling rates for 17 to 24 year-olds in the UK halved in the year ended last September.

The Gambling Commission also found the most common types of gambling for the age group are lottery scratchcards, the lottery and betting with friends, the spokesman said, adding that the BGC also funded a £10m harm prevention programme through YGAM.

However, the university students said the most popular gambling products during the COVID-19 pandemic have been the National Lottery at 32 percent, online sports betting at 25 percent and online bingo at 18 percent.

The UK survey was conducted between December 13 and December 20 by Censuswide.

Separately, a report by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute recommended that banks and other financial institutions offer voluntary gambling spending blocks and work to ensure that they are effective.

Many gamblers adopt gambling spending limits then later try to get around them, the charity said.

Banks could adopt cooling-off periods between a time when the block is switched off and gambling spending can begin, the institute said.

All banks should consider offering such blocks, so gamblers cannot easily switch to other payment methods, the group said.

The Financial Conduct Authority and Payment Systems Regulator could also facilitate cooperation between financial institutions to curb such efforts, it said.

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