Did you know…?

  • Gambling can be an addiction. It can turn into a VERY BIG problem VERY quickly.

  • Online gambling has increased significantly in the last 5 years.

  • College students are at greater risk than the general population. 5% report pathological gambling and over 9% report sub-clinical gambling related problems.

Considerations and Warning Signs

In 2004 the NCAA conducted a gambling behavior survey among 21,000 student-athletes attending more than 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide, representing more than 2,000 teams.


The NCAA study confirmed:

  • Nearly 70% of male student-athletes reported gambling in the past year versus 47% among females.

  • About 35% of males and 10% of females admitted to wagering on a sporting event in the past year, which is a direct violation of NCAA bylaws regarding sports wagering.

  • 20% of males and 5% of females bet on collegiate sporting events in the past year, even though if caught they would be banned from playing at an NCAA school for the rest of their lives.

  • 22% of male athletes and 6% of female student-athletes also admitted betting on football pools or with a bookie.

  • Among Division I, II and III male student-athletes, 17% were classified as “potential problem gamblers or worse” versus 3% among their female counterparts.

  • Overall, less than 5% of males and one-half of 1% of females were categorized as problem or compulsive gamblers.

  • Problem gamblers are also more likely to be in sexual relationships, have multiple sexual partners and engage in risky sexual behavior. They are also more commonly associated with consuming increased amounts of alcohol.

Gambling includes betting on the following:

Poker or other card games ♦ Dice, video or board games for money ♦ Car, horse or dog racing ♦
Lottery games ♦ Internet games using credit cards ♦ Slot or electronic poker machines ♦ Stock market 

♦ Games of skill, like pool, golf, darts or bowling ♦ School, professional or fantasy sports ♦


Why do students gamble?

♦ Chance to win money ♦ Excitement of placing a bet ♦

♦ To spend time with friends ♦ Distraction from everyday life ♦

 ♦ To fit in or be accepted ♦ The rush of winning ♦ To feel important ♦


Warning Signs

  • Excessive phone bills to 900 number services

  • Obsession with point spreads

  • Unusual interest in obscure games

  • Makes excessive inquiries about the health status of athletes on a team

  • Shifting allegiances — for/against same team on different days

  • Frequently asking friends or family for loans to get bailed out of desperate financial situations — debts, unpaid bills, other financial troubles

  • Defensive when questioned about gambling behavior

  • Chases losses

  • Negative changes in attitude or behavior — irritable, restless, withdrawn, distracted

  • Missing class, dropping grades, missing other commitments

  • Separation from friends; jeopardizing significant relationships

  • Selling personal belongings to get money

  • Gambles as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a negative mood or emotional pain (guilt, anxiety, helplessness, depression, etc.)

  • Has committed illegal acts such as forgery, fraud, or theft to finance gambling

  • Reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures

  • Receives gambling paraphernalia from Internet sports betting sites or possesses gambling related items such as lottery tickets, betting sheets, casino chips, or other souvenirs from gambling locations

Note: It is sometimes very difficult to notice when someone has a gambling problem — there aren’t necessarily physical signs like in other examples.

Action Steps

  1. Talk to the individual. Let the person know that you’re concerned.

  2. Do not give the person money and discourage others from doing so.

  3. Learn about the problem. 

  4. Remind the individual:

    • Do not make bets on any teams, including your own.

    • Do not give information about your team or teammates to anyone (injuries, morale, discipline, etc.). Keep team information in the locker room.

    • Do not talk about odds or point spreads with anyone.

    • Do not associate with bookies or other gamblers.

    • Do not accept money, gifts or favors for any reason from anyone associated with sports.

  5. Encourage the person to seek professional help.