Why people gamble is not an easy question to answer. Usually, it’s about the adrenaline rush, the thrill of winning or escaping reality. 47% of students admitted to having gambled in the last 12 months, showing the practice is really popular, and it can be fun – as long as you keep a keen eye on the risks involved.
Why do people gamble?
The thrill of it! 🎢
Many people first get into gambling for a bit of enjoyment. They might already watch sports and so to add a bit of excitement, they start betting on some of the results each week.
Often when starting out people will put on bets with their friends. This adds an extra layer of excitement as whoever wins will get bragging rights.
To make some extra money 💰
It’s common for people to gamble to try to earn some extra cash. If someone is struggling for money every month, gambling can be very tempting and can seem like an easy way for them to get out of a bad financial situation.
The dream is that, by winning a few bets, they’ll soon be free of their financial problems. Many of these people convince themselves that, once they no longer need to earn extra money, they’ll stop gambling.
Out of boredom/having too much free time 😴
Some start betting simply out of boredom or because they’ve got nothing else to do. This reason is kind of a mixture of the last two as they think “well I’ve got nothing else to do, why not try to make a bit of extra money and spice up my life a bit?”
How online gambling has caused more problems
Back in 1990, there was no online gambling. The only way to gamble was by going into a betting office. Nowadays, things are very different. Betting is accessible 24/7 on mobiles, laptops and tablets, meaning you can bet on events around the world at any time of day. 📲
People would be less likely to bet if you had to go to a betting office. You have to actually leave your house, which requires much more effort than simply using an app. Plus, on an app, you can pay with a couple of taps (as many of the betting adverts will gleefully tell you), whereas paying in person takes a bit more time and consideration – time in which you might realise that maybe your bet isn’t such a good idea.
This all means that the problems and risks of gambling have been worsened as tech has progressed.
What are the main risks of gambling?
Even if someone starts off betting small sums of money, the amount they bet can quickly increase. They might win some bets but, as is the nature of gambling, overall they’re likely to lose money. The more they lose, the more they’re likely to bet, chasing their losses in what turns into a nasty downwards spiral. 📉
A person can end up gambling away any money they and their family had worked hard to save up over the years. They might also use up any interest-free overdraft they have. Then they might lose the money they had for leisure activities and even for their necessities like rent.
This can put them in a really bad situation that’s hard to get out of. They’ll have to borrow money from somewhere – if they can’t borrow from family, the only option might be a high-interest loan or a credit card that can take a long time to pay off and for which they’ll end up paying a lot more back than they borrowed in the first place.
Negative effects on your health
A gambling problem can have a serious negative impact on your health, particularly your mental health. The constant ups and downs of betting can lead to severe mood swings, with times of extreme happiness from a win followed swiftly by seriously bad moods from a loss. Lashing out in anger over small things could become an everyday part of your life.
Many gambling addicts become depressed through their addiction. Gambling takes over their life, with their mood becoming completely dependent on the results of their bets. As pretty much everyone loses overall when gambling, this is a bad situation to find yourself in.
Risks to your education
Because a gambling problem can take over your whole life, it can lead to an adverse effect on your university or college results.
Due to spending so much time gambling, you won’t dedicate enough time to your studies and your grades are likely to drop, meaning you don’t fulfil your full potential.
Ruined relationships 💔
First, because of the financial problems it causes, you might not be able to afford to go out with your friends, meaning you miss out on any social activities and become distant from them. If every bit of money you get is going straight towards gambling, you might not even be able to afford a bus to go and visit a mate.
Second, because of how gambling affects your moods, people might not want to be around you. If you’re constantly lashing out and aren’t being a very nice person, your friends and family might distance themselves.
Gambling can seem very tempting – who doesn’t want to hit the jackpot and win big? However, the downsides of gambling far outweigh that small chance of a win.
If you need to earn more money, there are far better, more reliable ways to do it. And instead of chasing the excitement that gambling offers, try to instead work towards the fulfilment of having great relationships with family and friends and setting yourself up for a solid financial future.
The final week of the Student Festival of Financial Wellbeing will be all about how to Protect your wealth once you get it, covering insurance and scams. Take a look at everything on offer during the Festival and sign up to the webinars now.