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University students turn to payday loans to pay for betting habits

College students turn to payday loans to pay off their gambling habits, as one in six who gamble say they have a “problem” with it.

  • One in six students who gamble have a ‘problem’ with it, a study has found
  • Nearly half said gambling left them unable to go out or attend their conferences.
  • A former student said he wasted a £1,200 student loan on gambling within 24 hours.

University students spend an average of £1,700 a year gambling, a study into the epidemic sweeping Britain has found.

One in six students who gamble have a ‘problem’ and 57 per cent said they had used borrowed money, including payday loans, to place a bet in the past year.

Nearly half (48 percent) said gambling had left them unable to go out with friends, caused them to miss class and hurt their grades.

A former student told The Mail on Sunday that he became so addicted to the game that he squandered a £1,200 student loan in 24 hours.

The survey of 2,003 students in the Censuswide survey found that the average student gambled £33.77 a week, or £1,756 a year.

After the National Lottery, the most popular form of gambling was online sports betting, followed by online bingo.

One in six students who gamble have a ‘problem’ and 57 per cent said they had used borrowed money, including payday loans, to place a bet in the past year (Stock Image)

Worryingly, four in ten students said they had invested in cryptocurrency in the past 12 months, which experts warned is not unlike gambling due to unpredictable changes in the value of digital currencies.

The research was commissioned by the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) and GamStop, a free service that allows gamblers to restrict online gambling.

YGAM CEO Dr Jane Rigbye said: “A large percentage of the student population gambles regularly, many in a way that causes them to experience some level of harm.”

Recovered gambling addict Bray Ash has said he once blew away his entire £1,200 student loan in one day while studying at Leeds Beckett University.

He said: ‘Suddenly I had all this time on my hands and money. He got totally out of control. I was playing online at home and even during conferences.’

Mr Ash, 30, from Kent, said he had gambled over £40,000 when he sought help and used GamStop to prevent him from gambling online or entering bookmakers. He is now training to become a mental health nurse.

He said: ‘The game is so glamorous. You see people posting online all the time about how much money they’re making, but you don’t see the losers. You only see the one percent who get rich.

‘I think the problem is getting worse among students. Young people are now bombarded with ads on TikTok and Instagram by gambling companies and there has been an explosion on online gambling and cryptocurrency trading platforms. It’s really worrying.

A spokesman for the Betting and Gaming Council said: “BGC members are proud to fund the £10 million Youth Gambling Prevention Programme, delivered by YGAM and GamCare, which has reached two million young people. and is on track to reach four million by 2024.

“We support further measures to protect young people which will be announced shortly in the Government’s white paper on gambling.

“Some 22.5 million UK adults enjoy a bet each month and according to the independent regulator, the Gambling Commission, the rate of problem gambling among UK adults is 0.3 percent, down from 0.4 percent a year earlier.