The charity cited a study by the British Gambling Commission that found young people are the most susceptible to experiencing gambling harm “after achieving independence from parents”, while almost one quarter of student gamblers are at some degree of risk from gambling.
GamCare’s own efforts to raise awareness of gambling harm among students include BigDeal, a website that offers support and information about gambling for young people.
In addition, GamCare and BigDeal will this autumn launch and work with a Young Adult Advisory Board to raise awareness of gambling-related harm among 18-25-year-olds and inform them of the support available to them
“During this time of transition many young people are entering environments where gambling can be the norm – but there’s a lack of knowledge on how to recognise gambling harm or know where to turn to for support,” GamCare senior programme manager Alexa Roseblade said.
“There are many key drivers that contribute to this issue amongst students – having more time, personal independence and financial freedom with easy access to overdrafts and loans can encourage increased gambling behaviours.”
Matt Burgiss, GamCare’s education and training lead for the South East and East of England, experienced gambling harm at university and now works with young people to help them avoid similar issues.
“I really feel it’s so important to focus on educating young people about the risks of gambling, and how quickly it can stop being fun if you’re not careful,” Burgiss said.
“Together with parents and professionals working with young people, we can give them the facts they need to make the best decisions for themselves, and we can work on changing opinions about gambling for the better.
“I also think it’s so important to share what I’ve been through – if one person hears my story and it resonates so they can make a positive change, it’s worth it. We can break down the stigma surrounding gambling problems.
In June, GamCare published its new three-year organisational strategy, with the aim of offering universal access to support and treatment for individuals impacted by gambling-related harm.