The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

College gamblers could be rolling the dice with their futures

Photo by Emily Waller / [email protected]

Betcha five bucks you can’t guess how many words are in this article.

If you just took that bet, you may be a compulsive gambler.

As many as 1 in 5 college students may have a gambling problem, according to the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling. That number is substantially higher than the 5 to 7 percent of Wisconsin residents in general that have the addiction.

The current generation of students has grown up in an environment where gambling is largely accepted socially, a key factor in the elevated numbers, said Rose Gruber, executive director of the council.

“With online gambling, Texas Hold’em on TV and the accessibility to all types of betting, students in college today have grown up in a society where access to gambling is far greater than ever before,” Gruber said.

Gruber also said students sometimes have a hard time setting limits when they are on their own at school, and this can lead to financial difficulties for those who go overboard betting on the big game.

Compulsive gambling, as defined by the council, is “a progressive disorder causing a psychologically uncontrollable preoccupation and urge to gamble.” Such gambling can have serious deleterious effects on all aspects of one’s life.

Furthermore, suicide rates are 20 times higher among pathological gamblers compared to non-gamblers, Gruber said.

Kelly Skindzelewski, public affairs manager of the nearby Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 1721 W. Canal St.,  said the casino recognizes that problem gambling is something that exists in this community.

But only a small percentage of people in the casino are in college, as players must be 21 years old to be on the casino floor, Skindzelewski said. This eliminates most freshmen and sophomores from legally gambling at the casino.

Skindzelewski said casinos are meant for fun and entertainment, and Potawatomi is the number one private contributor to the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling.

Gruber said the most popular way for college students to gamble is on the Internet. The ability to hide the evidence of the gambling can feed into the addictive behavior, she said.

James Krickeberg, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said he enjoys playing bingo at the casino and occasionally bets on sports online.

During the college basketball season, Krickeberg said he can be seen hovering around his computer checking spreads and screaming at the television when his team just makes the cover.

Online sites can be the riskiest type of betting, as the site’s layout can make cashing in very simple, but cashing out more difficult, Krickeberg said.

He said he has not made a bet in a few months and always tries to bet within his budget.

But when does the “fun and entertainment” of gambling, as described by Skindzelewski, go too far?

Gruber said there are several questions one can ask to gauge the question. “Do you borrow money to gamble? Have you stolen from your family, roommate, friends or others to gamble? Are you preoccupied with thoughts of gambling?” were a few she named.

Gruber may encourage you to think twice before skipping class to shoot dice in the alley with a few buddies, but know that, according to the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling, you probably won’t be the only one.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *