As a resident advisor or peer educator, you may see or hear about gambling on campus, and may have the opportunity to help someone who has a problem. Here you can find information about warning signs, as well as materials you can distribute on campus.

Know Your School’s Gambling Policies

While 75 percent of college students gambled during the past year (whether legally or illegally, on campus or off), only 22 percent of U.S. colleges and universities have formal policies on gambling.

While gambling is legal for those of age, it may not be legal on your campus.  Make sure you are aware if your institution has policies in place to address gambling on campus.  Contact your supervisor to find out your institution’s gambling policy. You are also likely to find this information on your school’s website, in the student handbook or by contacting the office of student affairs.

Warning Signs for Gambling Problems

While it may not be easy to determine if someone has a gambling problem, here are some signs that to look for. Keep in mind that all of these behaviors could indicate other difficulties such as alcohol problems and drug use.

  • Frequent unexplained absences from classes
  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Progressive preoccupation with gambling
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Visible changes in behavior (e.g., mood changes, behavior problems, etc.)
  • Decline in health, increased symptoms of depression
  • Lies about engaging in gambling behavior
  • Feels compelled to chase losses
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut back or stop
  • Gambles to escape worry or problems
  • Exaggerated display of money and/or material possessions
  • Unexplained debt
  • Borrows money to gamble
  • Feast or famine cash flow
  • Feels need to increase betting amounts

Getting Help

There are many resources that can provide assistance for people with gambling disorders, including the student health center, helplines, websites, and off-campus treatment providers.  Click here to be redirected to information about these resources.

Materials on Gambling and Gambling Disorder

Whether you suspect someone has a gambling problem or know someone who wants to learn more, here are some educational materials about gambling and gambling disorders to help you and others to be informed. You can also post these materials in dorm common areas (bulletin boards, lobbies, and gathering rooms), the dining commons and peer education centers.

Fact Sheets

These three fact sheets provide an overview of research on gambling disorders and gambling issues on college campuses:

  • Gambling Disorders: Learn more about the prevalence of gambling disorders, how they are diagnosed and treated, and risk factors associated with the condition.
  • Gambling on College Campuses: Learn more about the prevalence of gambling on college campuses and the percentage of universities that have adopted gambling policies to address this issue.
  • Gambling Disorders among College Students: Learn more about how gambling disorders can negatively affect college students and why they are more prone to risky behaviors.  

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