Colleges Urged to Focus on Problem Online Gambling
by Mira Patel, News Staff Writer
October 5, 2009
There's no denying that problem and underage gambling
exisits - both in the land-based and online gambling sectors. While problem
gambling still seems to be more directed at brick 'n mortar casinos, in today's
"wired" age, where fourth graders are carrying around cell phones, concerns
about underage gambling are generally more directed to the internet and at
But what about college students, who for the most part, are of legal age to
gamble online, but due to their youth, are oftentimes still thought of as being
underage, or at least, not mature enough to gamble at an online casino or an
internet poker room? It's a tricky matter, to say the least, which is precisely
why the US Institute of Research on Gambling Disorders developed the Task Force
on College Gambling Policies.
The latest report to come from the task force is recommending that college
administrators treat gambling as a health issue, including the development of
health policies to prevent and treat problem gambling with college students. In
similar fashion to the way in which university health services provide
prevention and treatment counseling services for alcohol usage, the task force
is calling for colleges to do the same for addictive behaviors like gambling.
The only difficulty, which the Institute's Director, Christine Reilly,
contends, is that information on exactly how online gambling is affecting
college students is lacking. The only thing that is known, broadly speaking, is
that college students have unprecedented access to the internet, and that online
gambling operators are targeting them as a customer base.
Of course, governmental regulation, especially in the U.S., would help
tremendously. But until that happens, the task force says it is up to colleges
and universities to begin recognizing that a problem does indeed exist, and to
get on the ball in creating in-house policies that would help college students
who are no doubt venturing into an unregulated sea of online casinos, poker
rooms and sports betting sites.