Gambling may seem innocent, a harmless activity shared among friends, like wagering a pizza on the outcome of a college football game or playing a little nickel-ante poker. But gambling, especially for college students, can easily become addictive.
Do you really know the potential pitfalls awaiting college bettors? After all, ESPN televises The World Series of Poker and we’re bombarded by ads for online poker houses. The problem is that college students are at a much higher risk for developing a gambling addiction than any other population—they have constant access to the Internet and looming student loan payments, so a site promising big bucks just for playing cards can seem pretty attractive.
College students also tend to be risk-takers who like to challenge themselves. The same is true of gamblers, which is why online betting organizations spend so much money selling college students on the “glamour” of gambling. College students are also curious about new things, and that’s OK within reason—but gambling sites prey on young people’s curiosity to get them hooked quickly.
The online gaming craze is especially dangerous for college students, who can easily spend hours a day losing money in their dorm rooms—and then feel compelled to keep playing to try to win back what they’ve lost. Read one real-life college student’s sobering story of gambling addiction. The truth is: a gambling addiction isn’t glamorous, exciting or sexy—it’s a crippling condition that can take over and ruin your life.
There are lots of complicated federal and state laws about gambling—sometimes gambling is legal and sometimes it isn’t. Online gambling can be even more complicated since many sites try to skirt the laws.
Just because an online gambling source is offshore doesn’t mean it’s legal for Americans to use the service; federal laws regarding the use of the phone and Internet actually mandate that online gambling is illegal, regardless of the casino’s location. Even if a site is legal—and there’s no guarantee that it is—gambling is still dangerous. It’s better not to take the risk.
Regardless of gambling’s legality, it is frequently addictive and destructive. Gambling starts out as fun but often turns into an obsession—once it’s out of control, your grades, your health and your relationships will suffer. You could also plunge yourself into massive debt, lose your financial aid and even be forced to drop out of school. The safest bet is not to make one. If you think you may have a gambling problem, seek help right away from the Counseling Center.