Opinion: Mass online gambling is a dangerous option


Bankruptcy at our fingertips

Online Gambling could arguably be the worst thing for young people in America. And now it has made its way to Massachusetts. 

Since it was legalized in 2013 with online poker games and online casinos, gambling has evolved tremendously over the last nine years, now becoming more accessible than ever. Society needs to be extremely aware of the dangers of youth online gambling. 

In the past year, online gambling has had a significant impact on college kids/young adults, with the ability to wager on pro and college sports becoming legal in many states in September 2019. A study done by Villanova University in 2022 showed that six percent of college kids have a gambling problem. Online gambling is everywhere, and for young college students in 2022 gambling is at every turn.  75% of college students gambled during the past year according to a post by CollegeGambling.org  Online gambling could be very dangerous for college kids. The reason for this rise in gambling among college students is sports betting has been around since 1931 but online sports betting is new and probably here to stay.

A major contributor to that rise is the fact that the days of telling your bookie to throw 20 on the Bears moneyline is over; now with different sports betting apps like Draft kings and Bet MGM, minors under the legal age of 21  can go on their phones and place bets. There are so many ways to beat the system as a teen.  I believe that this is the reason for the rise in youth sports betting over the last few years and there is no evidence that shows that it’s going to slow down any time soon now that it is legal here in Massachusetts.

Fresh off its March 10th launch, the Massachusetts statistics are not surprising, but they are concerning. According to GeoComply, there were over 406,000 player accounts opened and 8.1 million transactions in the first three days of the Massachusetts March 1oth launch.

According to this graph, you can see that since the legalization of betting on college sports and pro sports in 2019 online gambling has shot past the regular ways of sports betting in just 4 years. Vixio GamblingCompliance predicts “the online sports betting market in the US will grow 17-fold from 494m in 2019 to 8.4bn by 2025.”  

Gambling has been a rising concern for young adults; this is primarily due to the impact of the internet and online gambling.  According to a study conducted by PubMedCentral on 117 college students who were regular online gamblers, these are just some of the statistics that were recovered from this study. Those who reported recent Internet gambling wagered in greater frequencies and amounts and reported missing school more often and more problems with family and anxiety due to gambling.”  

In a sample of 1,356 college students, 23% reported they have never gambled on the Internet, with 6.3% reporting gambling on the internet at least once a week. Almost two-thirds (61.6%) of regular Internet gamblers were pathological gamblers, compared to 23.9% of infrequent Internet gamblers and 5.0% of non-Internet gamblers. All of these trials and facts say the same thing, college students who gamble not just in general, but gamble online, have less success in the classroom and more personal and physical problems like alcohol abuse and problems with family members.  So, in a nutshell: gambling can be a problem itself and connect or lead to other problems.

But, here’s the rub.

Legalized Sports Betting published these Massachusetts first-year projections:

  • Handle $4.04 billion to $5.97 billion.
  • Revenue: $295.25 million to $506.15 million
  • Promos: $0
  • Taxable Revenue: $295.25 million to $506.15 million
  • Taxes: $56.59 million to $95.05 million

So, the projections are extremely profitable.  Seeing from the obnoxious in-your-face advertising – much like the history of cigarette ads – this venture is only going to gain momentum.

Gambling can lead to financial problems, as it can be easy to lose more money than you can afford to lose. This can lead to debt and financial stress, which can negatively impact a college student’s ability to pay for tuition and other expenses. Gambling can be addictive and can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Overall, gambling can have serious and long-lasting negative consequences for college students.

It is important for college students to avoid or at least understand gambling, and to seek help if they are struggling with a gambling addiction.