Increased access to sports betting could mean increased risks for college students.

Ohio is over seven months into the legalization of sports betting. This new form of gambling was not within reach for most college-age students previously but is now right at their fingertips. Could this new accessibility have an impact on the next generation of young adults? 

Let’s start by taking a closer look at the landscape of sports betting on college campuses. According to a U.S. News Report article, one of the biggest factors of increased sports betting is due to university sports departments signing deals with sports betting companies. 

The New York Times reported that “at least a dozen athletic departments and booster clubs have signed agreements with brick-and-mortar casinos” and at least eight universities have penned deals with sports gambling companies. These deals allow sports betting companies to advertise on campus, in athletic spaces, and directly to students’ university email accounts, even those who are under the legal betting age, which is not permissible by law and Ohio regulators have issued fines to sportsbooks who have advertised to those not of age.  

There are also other factors to consider when thinking about college students and gambling, like the party culture on many college campuses. Studies have shown that those who engage in substance use are at a higher risk of developing a problem with gambling, and drinking is often ubiquitous with gambling in casinos and racinos – and now, at game day parties. 

“You’re drinking, watching the game, and everyone’s got their phone out,” Bill Newberry, a problem gambling counselor in Kent, Ohio, told Ideastream Public Media in a recent article. “They’re playing. They’re on FanDuel while they’re having a beer.” 

Some even see sports betting as a way to pay for college, earn some spending money, or start a side hustle. However, most of the time, students who do this are more likely to end up in deeper debt and struggle to pay bills and other necessities as a result.  

This blog post only explored three factors that impact college students, but if you’re interested in learning more about  how to educate college students about the risks of sports betting, you can access Before You Bet’s college student toolkit. The toolkit includes customizable assets that spread awareness about the warning signs and effects of problem gambling on college students, provides free resources to students who may be struggling, and offers tips on how to gamble responsibly if choosing to do so.   

And if you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, never hesitate to call the free and confidential Problem Gambling Helpline. Trained and understanding specialists will answer 24/7. Call 1-800-589-9966 or text 4HOPE to 741741.