Gambling on Campus — Does College Football Lead to Problem Gambling for Students?

The sports betting industry has traditionally targeted rabid sports fans that want to parlay their love of the game and their perceived knowledge of it into winnings. We’ve seen people of all ages fall into the cycle of betting on their team — betting against them — and fall into some problematic behaviors. For college students across the country, every Saturday represents a new chance to put their school pride on the line by supporting their football team — and place a bet. 

As the college football season reaches a fever pitch, upsets and high stakes bring students together in the throes of revelry and drama. However, does this volatile environment potentially lead to unforeseen dangers? Most importantly — does college football lead to problem gambling for students? 

The Allure of Betting on College Football

One of the main attractions of sports betting is the unpredictability of sports. On any given night, one team can topple a giant and get the big win. While in professional leagues, the variations between the great and bad teams aren’t quite as drastic, it can feel like until the playoffs roll around, upsets don’t have the same meaning or impact. That is not the case for college football. 

Every college football season sees a wide range of unforgettable upsets, exciting matchups, and unexpected outcomes that can lead to huge payouts for the savvy bettor. However, for every upset you hit, there’s a greater chance that it will backfire on you and lead to a massive loss. As these high-stakes games draw in more people, the opportunities for someone to develop a gambling problem do as well. 

NCAA and Sportsbook Partnerships

Much like the major American sports leagues, college football brings unheard-of profit for universities across the country. Some universities are looking to branch out and bring in more money through athletics programs. The University of Colorado has taken this step by partnering with the sportsbook PointsBet. In one of the first partnerships of its kind, students have incentives from the school to use PointsBet for their sports gambling. 

As more sportsbooks shift their marketing strategies towards targeting college students, problem gambling becomes a bigger issue. In some cases, student-athletes may fall into problem gambling even if they don’t wind up betting on their own sport. It’s an environment where the thrill of gambling can drive students to make reckless decisions with their money. 

Online Gambling Sites and College Students

As more online gambling sites begin targeting college students, these incentive-laden deals have the potential to bring even more young people into the world of sports betting than ever before. These students fall into the culture of sports betting at an impressionable age and can develop lifelong gambling problems. As more states legalize sports betting, sites can expand their targeting radius and bring more college students into their ecosystems with the promise of big wins and limited risk. 

As more gambling institutions get accustomed to the different gambling regulations in each new state, they find new opportunities to grow their customer base and potentially create a new generation of problem gamblers. 

How Gambling Can Affect Still-Developing Brains

One of the biggest dangers for students getting into gambling too early is the potential long-term effects on their still-developing brains. Studies have shown that students between the ages of 18-25 are at a significantly higher risk of developing a compulsive sports gambling problem in Freehold, NJ, and beyond. As these young people are mostly on their own for the first time and have a greater sense of freedom, they are more likely to take greater risks than people with more life experience and a fully developed brain. 

Additionally, the college experience lends itself to more frequent instances of binge drinking, and other risky behaviors can also lead to students taking more frequent risks with their gambling practices. By participating in these activities, gambling outcomes can start significantly altering their brain chemistry and make spikes in their dopamine levels associated with successful sports wagers. 

Get the Help You Need From 800-GAMBLER Today

College campuses in New Jersey can potentially see a significant increase in problem gamblers among their student body. As these students enter the sports betting ecosystem, it may take some time to realize they need help and seek it out. However, whenever they recognize they need help, 800-GAMBLER’s confidential 24/7 hotline and resources are here to help. We have been a trusted resource for problem gamblers across the state and have been instrumental on their road to recovery. 

If you or someone you love has a gambling problem, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 800-GAMBLER has the problem gambling recovery resources you need to make a positive change today. 


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