Rising Issue of Sports Betting Among College Students
College athletics is a multibillion-dollar industry with countless players, coaches, corporations, and universities making millions of dollars annually. In 2022 and 2023, many universities are considering partnering with sportsbooks to help fund their athletics programs.
On May 14th, 2018, the supreme court lifted its federal ban against sports betting. Since then, numerous states have legalized the practice. While each state has various regulations on sports wagering, many universities can legally partner with sports betting operators to promote sports wagering apps on college campuses. More and more college campuses are beginning to form such partnerships. With more universities partnering with sports wagering brands, there has been a noticeable increase in gambling addiction problems on college campuses.
How the Pandemic Played a Part
NYT wrote, “In order to reap millions of dollars in fees, universities are partnering with betting companies to introduce their students and sports fans to online gambling.”
Schools, such as Michigan State and Louisiana State, are contracting deals with sports betting operators (Caesars Sportsbook) and are now encouraging their students to, “place your first bet and earn your first bonus”. This included marketing to some students who are under the age of 21, which is the legal sports betting age in Michigan and Louisiana. The majority of US legal sports betting markets require players to be 21 years of age or older (Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Washington allow players 18 and older).
The pandemic played a huge part in sparking students’ interest since they were not allowed to attend sporting events. It also increased the incentive for schools to market sports betting, as they found themselves in large financial deficits.
As students and schools alike see the potential for financial gain, there are some risks many are considering before going all in.
Risks For Students
“The first-day sports betting was legal in the state, everyone was doing it,” said Jack Krecidlo, a senior at Louisiana State.
More often than not, students are too slow to realize they have a gambling problem before it’s too late. Additionally, universities are ill-equipped to identify if students are showing early signs of gambling problems.
Those opposed are arguing that the example it sets for students isn’t the message schools should be sending. And it’s a strong argument. School is a time for students to learn, and many are already burdened by debt. Wagering on sporting events can further exacerbate the problem in individuals prone to gambling addiction.
“It is a terrible example to set for the people the University is supposed to be serving — the students.” said an anonymous Michigan State alumni. The alumni concluded, “Are we that desperate for money that we allow this to go on at Michigan State University?”
Jacob Spudich, a first-year journalism student at Indiana University at Bloomington, said, “The big thing you see on social media, when those ads pop up, or when people post about it, is they always post their wins,” Spudich said. “They never talk about how many people lose. More people lose bets than win, and nobody ever posts about how much they lose.”
Oftentimes, people have a hard time knowing when to stop gambling, it can be especially difficult for young adults to set boundaries. Not to mention the added difficulty when your peers continue to participate in sports wagering actively.
“From midteens through 25, your brain is still developing,” said Ms. Drexler, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. But still, school-sponsored websites encourage students by insinuating they have little or nothing to lose, which as any who has wagered on sports knows, is completely untrue. *While a fun pastime, we always encourage responsible gambling at playonlinemichigan.com and encourage anyone seeking help to call the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-270-7117.*
Impacts On the Student Body
The athletic director of the University of Pittsburgh, Heather Lyke, believes that gambling will “have a corrosive and detrimental impact on student-athletes and the general student body alike.”
While professional athletes very seldom socialize with fans, student-athletes not only share classrooms but potentially dorm rooms and attend social events with other students who wager on their games.
Ms. Lyke commented that student-athletes already experience harsh messages on social media after their games.
“I cannot imagine that this school is remotely prepared or willing to deal with the problems that are created by this.” said Mr. Mann, an LSU professor who also noted that the university’s health center is already underfunded.
Mac Daniel is a Michigan native and freelance writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com