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Gambling and problem gambling in a sample of university students

Robert J. Williams, Dennis Connolly, Robert T. Wood, Nadine Nowatzki


University students from southern Alberta (n = 585) were administered a questionnaire to assess their gambling behaviour. Seventy-two percent reported gambling in the past 6 months, with the most common types being lotteries and instant win tickets (44%) and games of skill against other people (34%). Most students who gambled spent very little time and money doing so (median time spent = 1.5 hrs; median amount of money spent = $0). While gambling is an innocuous activity for most, a significant minority of students are heavy gamblers who experience adverse consequences from it. Seven and one-half percent of students were classified as problem or pathological gamblers, a rate significantly higher than in the general Alberta adult population. The characteristics that best differentiated problem gamblers from non-problem gamblers were more positive attitudes toward gambling, ethnicity (41% of Asian gamblers were problem gamblers), university major (kinesiology, education, management), superior ability to calculate gambling odds, and older age.


gambling; problem gambling; university; students

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