Why do Students Gamble?

  • To relieve stress
  • To combat boredom and depression
  • For entertainment purposes
  • Increased campus proximity to casinos
  • Curiosity/experimentation
  • The risk-taking rush
  • To make money
  • To add more excitement to sporting events
  • The excitement of taking road trips to casinos
  • The promise of quick riches
  • Fascination with the stroke of luck
  • Natural adrenaline-induced high
  • Availability of easy credit/ easy accessibility to ATM machines
  • Free alcohol in casinos

Action vs. Escape

It is important to note that there are two main reasons people gamble. One is to seek action and the other is to use it as an escape. The action seeker is drawn to the adrenaline rush gambling can produce and gravitates to more ‘skill like’ games, such as poker. An action seeker is typically male.

The escape seeker is drawn to ‘mindless’ types of games (such as the slot machines), where they can become absorbed and lost in the process, temporarily forgetting about their problems. An escape seeker is typically female, although the lines between action and escape can be easily blurred. People can use gambling for both purposes at different times and with different games. For more information on gender issues in gambling please see the section on Information for Educators.

Alternatives to Gambling

Gambling is just one way that college students can relax or have fun…other activities include:
  • Going to a concert
  • Taking a road trip to a new city
  • Watching a movie
  • Riding a bike
  • Going out dancing
  • Volunteering
  • Having a BBQ with friends
  • Learning to cook
  • Taking a long bath
  • Treating yourself to a Spa day or a massage
  • Playing non-violent video games
  • Playing golf
  • Drawing or painting
  • Shopping
  • Going on a date
  • Trying a new restaurant
  • Learning to play an instrument
  • Playing a board game
  • Just hanging out with friends