Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Mary Lay
Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program

Desiree Goetze
Indiana Prevention Resource Center

Tracy James
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, March 23, 2009

Gambling and college students: An IU expert source

March 23, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The NCAA basketball tournament, known as "March Madness," is a huge sporting event for gamblers -- especially college students. More than 41percent of college students report participating in some form of gambling each year. Over the past 10 years, sports betting among college students has increased even though it is illegal in every state except Nevada.

Mary Lay

Mary Lay

Problem gambling among college students is more than double that of the general population, with an estimated 3 percent to 4 percent of college student gamblers developing into problem gamblers. College students have easy access to credit cards and online gambling opportunities with more than 2,000 betting Web sites available.

"Most people can gamble responsibly and never develop a problem. For some, gambling develops into a problem for which they have little to no control" says Mary Lay, project manager of the Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program, which is part of Indiana University's Indiana Prevention Resource Center. "Problem gambling can lead to financial devastation, crime and poor physical and mental health including an increased risk of substance abuse, depression and suicide."

More than six million Americans are addicted to gambling. Problem gambling among college students is characterized by:

  • Gambling for long hours or with more money than intended
  • Lying to friends and family about gambling
  • Borrowing money frequently to gamble
  • Grades dropping due to preoccupation with gambling
  • Unable to stay awake in class from late nights of gambling
  • Wins and losses create mood swings
  • Gambling to escape life's hassles and stressors
  • Arguing with family and friends about your gambling
  • Using tuition, scholarship or book money to pay gambling debts
  • Increasing gambling to try to win back money lost.

Lay said college students and anyone else who bets on sporting events should remember that sports betting is illegal in every state except Nevada and that there are risks involved with gambling -- and also help for problem gamblers.

If a gambler or their loved ones suspect a problem, their first step should be to call the Indiana Problem Gambling Help Line at 800-994-8448. For additional resources, visit the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling at or the Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program at

Lay can be reached at 812-856-4885 or The Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program and IPRC are part of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and it's Department of Applied Health Science.