Problem Gambling behaviors to avoid during summer break

May 30, 2024

Summer vacation begins at varying dates depending on the school level and location, but Memorial Day Weekend typically marks the official start of summer break across the country. With the onset of summer camps, jobs and internships, there's significantly more free time to relax and unwind. This increased leisure time coincides with major sports events like the NHL and NBA playoffs, MLB regular season games, big PGA Tour events, the French Open tennis tournament and WNBA games. 

As sports fans focus more on these events, waves of advertisements from legal online sports betting operators target new bettors, especially those who are young and entering summer break. The ease of access to sports betting can quickly turn young people from casual fans and occasional bettors into regular and potentially addicted gamblers. 

Gambling increases on college and high school campuses

Studies show a definitive link between sports betting and binge drinking, with men who bet on sports nearly twice as likely to binge drink weekly. Underage drinking is widespread, with over 75% of high school seniors reporting having been drunk at least once.There are also many ways individuals under the age of 21 can access gambling. Gambling and alcohol consumption is a dangerous mix, as risk evaluation skills are hampered and dangerous decisions can be made when using mobile sportsbook apps.

Gambling among college students is also common, and 29.0% of full-time college students ages 18-22 report monthly binge drinking. Key college gambling statistics include:

  • 75% of college students have gambled within the past year.

  • 67% of college students engage in sports betting.

  • Approximately 6% of college students report having a problem with gambling, double the rate of U.S. adults.

  • Students who smoke, drink or use other drugs have higher rates of gambling problems.

Even High school students are gambling nowadays, either in states where the minimum age is 18 or by other means using gray-area betting/fantasy hybrid products or offshore sportsbooks. Only 22% of institutions have formal policies addressing gambling. As the legal sports betting industry grows, with $10 billion in projected revenue for 2024, marketing efforts have targeted school campuses, attracting young bettors and pushing addictive habits before their brains fully develop.

Top Responsible Gaming Tips for Summer Vacation

  1. Set a Summer Budget and Stick to It: If you are of legal age and decide to gamble, it’s important to set a budget beforehand and strictly adhere to it. This helps prevent overspending and keeps gambling in check before you head back to school or before you head into the real working world after summer break.

  2. Prioritize Other Activities: You should view gambling paid entertainment, so putting it into a category with other summer fun expenses can help balance your gambling. Focus on other vacation activities like traveling, sporting events and socializing to ensure a well-rounded and fulfilling summer break.

  3. Take Regular Breaks: Avoid long gambling sessions by taking frequent breaks to enjoy the outdoors or engage in other leisure activities.

  4. Stay Informed: Research and choose reputable gambling venues or platforms to ensure a safe and fair experience. Bet on sports and markets you understand well. It can be exciting to join in on a bet all your friends are making, but don’t just throw money at something to feel part of the group. Stand your ground and maintain your independence when it comes to gambling decisions.

  5. Know the Rules: Familiarize yourself with the rules of the games you plan to play to avoid unnecessary losses and enhance your enjoyment.

Gambling behaviors to avoid during summer break

  1. Gambling Under the Influence: This is especially notable for college students. Regardless of whether you leave campus or stay on campus during summer vacation, dorm drinking, house parties, fraternity parties and cheap college bars during the school year can influence how you spend your time during the summer.

    Avoid gambling while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as they impair judgment and increase the risk of making poor decisions for your health and your wallet.

  2. Chasing Losses: Resist the urge to chase losses by continuing to gamble in an attempt to recover money lost, as this often leads to greater losses and can result in debts that you cannot afford.

  3. Ignoring Limits: Do not ignore self-imposed limits on time and money spent gambling. Always adhere to these limits to maintain control.

  4. Gambling Preoccupation: Avoid making gambling the primary focus of your vacation. Ensure it is just one part of a broader range of activities.

  5. Betting Beyond Your Means: If you are just starting to build up your savings and make real money, don’t let an introduction to gambling allow you to build poor financial habits. Never gamble with money you cannot afford to lose. Stick to your predetermined budget and avoid dipping into savings or necessary funds.

Warning signs of Problem Gambling during summer break

  1. Neglecting Social Activities: Prioritizing gambling over social events, family gatherings or planned activities can be a sign of problematic behavior.

  2. Preoccupation with Gambling: Constantly thinking about gambling or planning the next opportunity to gamble.

  3. Lying About Gambling: Hiding the extent of your gambling from friends and family or lying about your activities.

  4. Financial Troubles: Experiencing financial difficulties as a result of gambling, such as borrowing money, using savings meant for other purposes or struggling to pay bills.

  5. Emotional Distress: Feeling anxious, depressed, or irritable when not gambling, or using gambling as a way to cope with stress or emotional issues.

By following these tips and being mindful of gambling behaviors, you can enjoy a responsible and balanced summer vacation. If you or someone you know needs help, consider reaching out to support services for assistance.

Gambling Addiction support & treatment

Birches Health offers specialized online treatment for individuals dealing with problem gambling and related behavioral addictions. With a team of experienced counselors and personalized care plans, Birches provides a supportive and secure environment for recovery. Patients often benefit from confidential and convenient services, with many having $0 out-of-pocket costs.

Sources:

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Better Health Channel

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