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Nevada Council on Problem Gambling Raises Alarm over Student Betting

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A new study by the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) suggests that some university-level students might be getting too involved in sports betting. It highlights that at least one-fifth of them might be tapping into their financial aid funds for betting purposes.

Students Betting with Financial Aid

With 38 states and Washington, DC, now allowing some form of legal sports betting, the accessibility of such platforms has grown significantly across the country. Consequently, there has been a parallel rise in calls to gambling addiction hotlines, reflecting the escalating concerns surrounding gambling-related issues.

Related: DraftKings Launch New Tool as Part of Responsible Gaming Program

This has reportedly gained momentum in the context of major events like this month's NCAA men's basketball tournament. Also known as March Madness, it's one of the biggest betting events of the year behind the NFL Super Bowl. Coincidentally, March is also Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

According to Ted Hartwell, Executive Director of the NCPG, about two-thirds of college students residing on campus are currently engaging in sports betting, with a significant portion being underage bettors. One aspect revealed by experts is that as many as 20% are reportedly using their financial aid intended for education to fuel their gambling habits.

COVID-19 Spawned New Era of Betting

Notably, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the issue, with calls to gambling addiction hotlines seeing a surge. Hartwell attributes this increase to the ease of access to sports betting platforms via smartphones and the influx of major league sports teams in the Las Vegas valley.

Furthermore, Hartwell emphasized the concerning trend of individuals falling into the trap of thinking they can win more by gambling more, a notion debunked by the reality of gambling odds. Recovery from sports betting addiction is an ongoing process for many, with Malek exemplifying the resilience needed to overcome such challenges.

Despite the concerning statistics, only a quarter of colleges and universities have implemented policies addressing gambling-related issues, according to the NCPG. Hartwell advocates for increased awareness and early intervention strategies, including the incorporation of gambling habit questions in health forms, to identify and support individuals struggling with problem gambling.

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