The results of a survey published by the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM), highlighting how university students are using videos games and gambling as an attempt to relieve financial and academic pressures, has been praised by the Gambling Commission for providing ‘further information, detail and understanding.’
Helen Rhodes, Programme Director at the Gambling Commission welcomed the research which was published this week, stating: “There are a variety of actions and educational initiatives which are connected with the research and it is important these are undertaken in a planned, joined-up way. The National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, launched earlier this year, will be the most effective way to ensure this vital coordination and partnership work takes place and drives faster progress to reducing gambling harms. We look forward to working with colleagues at YGAM in the months ahead.”
The report, which was conducted amongst a sample of 2,000+ students in higher education by Red Brick Research, specialists in higher education and student research, reveals that:
• 48 percent of those who game every day said it has got in the way of friendships and studies.
• The more frequently students game, the greater the impact. The research revealed that for those who game every day, one fifth have a negative sense of belonging at university, and over one-third say it has got in the way of their social life.
• 264,000 students in the UK are at some risk from gambling with around 88,000 defined as problem gamblers.
• 59 percent of students who gamble say they are always worrying about their financial situation while 16 percent have gambled more than they could afford.
Commenting on the report findings Lee Willows, YGAM CEO said: “There has been growing concern around the impact of gaming and gambling for young people and the purpose of this survey was to better understand a less well researched community, students in higher education. Students at university are often away from home, managing their finances and their lives independently for the first time. The research shows that we need to continue to expand our university partnerships and work together to raise awareness around financial advice, well-being, support services as well as the potential risks of gambling and gaming.”
Mike Wojick, Chair of the Board for YGAM commented: “This is an extraordinarily insightful piece of research into attitudes and behaviours of students around gaming and gambling, which not only supports YGAM’s University and Student Engagement Programme, but it will ideally result in follow up research, to unpick some of the findings. Earlier in the year when I prepared the initial scope for this research, I was convinced this was a priority for YGAM so as to provide a platform to better inform our support to students, and to provide evidence to ensure the issues become more of a priority for policy makers and Universities. Some of the themes that particularly jump out are the scale of numbers of young people at risk, not just financial or digital resilience but also knock on factors such as mental health and wellbeing, stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, academic performance and even the potential to drop out of their courses. YGAM continues to be a contemporary and agile charity responding to young adults’ education needs around safer gambling and gaming. I am looking forward to working with the YGAM team, higher education sector and the industries to make this more than just insightful research, it needs to lead to practical action.”
Ben Cooke, Research Director at Red Brick Research who led the study, says “Students provided valuable insights into their experiences of gaming and of gambling, how it relates to their studies, their finances, and social lives. For me the most interesting finding was the lack of awareness that gaming could be an addiction or of the overall help and information available to students. YGAM’s approach of practical action in response to these findings is reassuring as the challenges students are facing are significant.”
The full report is available to download at www.ygam-research.org