in article about gambling addiction, a person with their face in their hands

Why Is Gambling Dangerous for Students?

Maybe it's fun as a quick distraction, but it can easily become an addiction.
February 3, 2022
7 mins read

Gambling is just like an adult’s Xbox. It offers a different level of fun and excitement to help you get through the problems you’re dealing with. However, when a person becomes dependent on gambling, it leads to different issues that could do more harm than good.

Students are among the most vulnerable population when it comes to gambling. In fact, online gambling has been prevalent among adolescents and college students because of their familiarity with the internet. This leads to about a quarter of college students in the United States gambling online.

Among the things that motivate students to gamble are the monetary prizes, fun, excitement, and socialization. When gambling is unmanaged, that’s when it becomes dangerous, and it poses risks to the welfare of students.

Gambling Addiction

Students may start gambling without knowing it. From simple card games like Texas Hold ‘em to betting on who’s going to win in a college football match, they won’t realize they are being hooked on to a dangerous game until it becomes a habit. Then the habit eventually becomes an addiction.

Gambling becomes an addiction when it becomes compulsive and uncontrollable. When you reach this level, you may spiral down the pit more problems. We are not just talking about losing a lot of money, but also grave physical and psychological issues.

Data shows that about 60% of American adults gamble yearly, about two to 10 million have problems with addiction, while around 750,000 youth aged 14 to 21 have gambling problems.

BETANDBEAT gathered data on the perils of gambling addiction from various respected nonprofit and government organizations, and some of their findings are:

  • Parents with gambling problems are more likely to abuse their children or commit domestic violence.
  • Some 17% of child abuse reports were made against parents with gambling problems
  • 76% of people with gambling problems have chronic depression.
  • WHO says gambling addiction poses more risks than drug dependence.
  • Men are more likely to face gambling problems than women.

Emotional Stress

Gambling affects your emotions. It is believed to directly affect your brain by producing hormones like serotonin and dopamine that are responsible for making you feel good and satisfied. Playing makes you excited, winning makes you happy, and it helps you forget all your worries for a while.

However, the good feelings that gambling induces tend to be short-lived. It can easily shift happiness and excitement into stress, unhappiness and regret. While these emotional stresses are normal, as we can also feel them at work or in school, they tend to build up and cause more problems.

Many people suffering from gambling problems are known to be short-tempered, easily feel down, get annoyed or simply get stressed.

Mental Health Outcomes

When emotional stress is not addressed, it further leads to graver mental health problems. Mental illness, or mental health disorders, refers to various mental health conditions that affect your thinking, mood and behavior. These are conditions like anxiety disorders, depression, and schizophrenia.

Gambling has a similar effect to drugs and alcohol abuse. The satisfaction of a person addicted to gambling or any activities decreases, hence why the brain is conditioned to produce more dopamine, to stimulate its reward system. Too much dopamine is linked with over competitiveness, aggressiveness and poor impulse control — traits that are common among people with ADHD and eating disorders.

According to research, gambling problems among youth have been linked to several mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and as well as poor general health. The aforementioned issues may also lead to alcohol and substance abuse, domestic abuse and suicide.

Lifelong Negative Impact

If gambling problems persist and are left untreated, one may suffer from its many lifelong consequences.


Gambling addiction can have lifelong effects on both your psychological and physical health, as well as your overall well-being. It leads to poor mental health and can lead to different chronic diseases.

For students with gambling problems, they are likely to lose their focus, spend too much on gambling and drop out of school. Some students may also gamble their education loans, which adds up to their future liabilities.


Gambling addiction is associated with many family problems such as emotional problems, impaired family relationships, and financial problems. In families with gambling parents, children are the most vulnerable to issues like domestic violence and emotional traumas due to gambling addiction.

Study shows that about 39.5% of couples with gambling problems lead to divorce, while another 53.5% of couples have separated.


A lot of issues stem from gambling problems. The most prominent impact it has on society includes bankruptcy, the likelihood to commit crimes, and other family problems — which are critical in nation-building and economic development.

 Gambling as an occasional activity can help you improve your mood and relieve stress, but it’s another story when it already hampers your studies and reduces productivity. Seek therapy, including CBT, if you detect an abnormal attraction for gambling as a student. When one can no longer fight the urge to gamble, that’s when it becomes dangerous for students.

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