Gambling and problem gambling in a sample of university students

Authors

  • Robert J. Williams Alberta Gaming Research Institute, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. E-mail: <email xlink:href="mailto:robert.williams@uleth.ca">robert.williams@uleth.ca</email>
  • Dennis Connolly Department of Mathematics &amp; Computer Science, University of Lethbridge
  • Robert T. Wood Department of Sociology, University of Lethbridge
  • Nadine Nowatzki School of Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4309/jgi.2006.16.19

Keywords:

gambling, problem gambling, university, students

Abstract

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.

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Published

2006-04-01

Issue

Section

Original Article