College students, like the rest of the population, are not immune to problem gambling. In fact, approximately 6 percent of U.S. college students have a serious gambling problem according to the National Council on Problem Gambling.
Therefore, it makes sense to identify ways to raise awareness about problem gambling to this population and to determine age-appropriate ways to penetrate this audience. To gain a baseline understanding of college students’ behaviors and attitudes regarding gambling, and of problem gambling as an issue, 442 college students from Gustavus Adolphus College and Bemidji State University were surveyed. The research consisted of online surveys and 17 interviews.
Here are some significant findings:
Gambling Behavior. Students were motivated to gamble for fun (social), excitement and to win money. Most were aware of the possible harms of gambling. Students who had lost large amounts of money gambling admitted to being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs while gambling.
Preferences for Obtaining Gambling-Related Information. The majority of students prefer to receive information online through websites or social media. Most prefer video and picture content. The majority of students felt that facts, testimonials and practices to alleviate the desire to gamble would be most helpful.
The survey suggests a variety of ways to connect with the college student audience. This includes providing budgeting and money-tracking tips, sharing stories, offering digital self-assessments and providing online support.
In the coming months, the Minnesota Problem Gambling Program (as part of the Minnesota Department of Human Services) will create a campaign to reach college students. Details of the evolving campaign will be shared by Northstar as the campaign is developed.
As more and more people enjoy gaming in casinos and other gaming venues, the need for responsible gaming programs to provide information, education and gambling addiction prevention messages is crucial. To help focus more attention on these efforts, the National Council on Problem Gambling has developed a guide detailing how casinos can develop responsible gaming training programs.
A responsible gaming training program ensures that plans, policies and procedures are in place to educate employees about problem gambling and associated behavior. The program also ensures that training materials are available for employees and those that train employees. Services of the program may include the establishment of a self-exclusion system, as well as review of casino advertising, promotions, problem gambling materials and signage.
Employee responsible gaming training also stresses the state or national helpline number, how employees should notify appropriate management or security personnel, and how casino employees can provide problem gambling materials to patrons who request help.
Responsible gaming programs provide several important benefits for casinos. An effective program reduces the impact of patrons whose behavior can compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. It can also help employees who feel stress due to an inability to help a gambler who’s in distress. As for the employees themselves, research shows that employees in the gambling industry have higher than average rates of gambling problems.
Providing and promoting responsible gaming through such a program is also good customer service. By helping customers in distress, whether or not gambling is the cause, a casino is acting as a good corporate citizen.
The guidelines for establishing a responsible gaming employee training program can be found at ncpgambling.org under the Programs & Resources section.
Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance staff and consultants are available to assist any casino or gaming venue that would like help in developing a responsible gaming program, evaluating an existing program, or support in training employees or other consultation. For more information, email Susan Sheridan Tucker, MNAPG executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org