Roll the dice; spin the wheel

By Katherine Brachelli
August 31, 2006

Shane Evans

College gambling is on a roll after being ignited by the popular and easy-to-access online gaming sites and televised tournaments. The popular card games such as Texas Hold ‘Em and Black Jack has become a thrill for some college students, but an addiction and a problem for others.

Ryan Jones, a sophomore biology major at the University of Philadelphia, said that his first year as a college student he spent 12 hours a week gambling. Jones started gambling four years ago. He has participated in tournaments throughout Philadelphia, and won several thousands dollars. Although Jones never found himself in debt from gambling he admitted that his gambling affected his grades.

According to the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, it is logical that college students are increasingly involved in recreational gambling, either legal or illegal, because they are exposed to gambling advertisements and all the media hype.

Nikki Duggan, a sophomore English and Communication major, said, “I’m not really into any type of gambling, but I’ve heard of other college students that are in to it.”

Christina Snead, a freshman elementary education major, agreed with Duggan and said, “I’d rather buy a pair of shoes that I want than take the risk of gambling and lose all my money.”

The vast majority of individuals participate in gambling activities without any problem. Nonetheless, according to the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, “Teenagers have a problem gambling rate of 10 percent to 17 percent, a rate one-to-three times higher than the general population.”

Jacqueline Halbherr, a freshman social work major, said, “I can see myself making bets on a basketball game, but I don’t think it is something I would be addicted to.”

In addition, a recent study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that monthly card-game gambling among young people was up 20 percent from the year before, and 57 percent of the young men surveyed said they gambled at least once a month. As many as half a million students could be addicted to gambling, but schools are just beginning to recognize the severity of the problem.

Clear signs of a developing addiction to gambling are an inability to stop once you start gambling, an unexplained need for money, money or possessions missing from the home, unexplained charges on credit card bills, withdrawal from friends and family, missing school or classes, frequent anxiety, depression or mood swings, dropping outside activities and interests and excessive watching of TV sports.

Jones said that now he is a sophomore he plans to focus more on his studies.

Jones said, “Gambling shouldn’t be a priority. I had fun with it but I don’t think I’ll be playing as much Texas Hold ‘Em as I did last year.”

The Loquitur welcomes your comments and questions on this story. Please send your comments to The editors will review your comments each week and make corrects if warrented.

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Katherine Brachelli

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