According to a recent NUS survey, tens of thousands of students are now using their loans to gamble. This isn’t simply for fun, however.
Whilst we can understand the appeal of a Saturday football bet or a game of poker between friends, the shocking thing here is that these students are actually using their loans in order to survive.
London is home to several universities, including Kingston University in the south west. Our capital also boasts expensive rent contracts and a generally high cost of living. So, could it be the case that our university students are being affected? We visited Kingston University to find out.
The Survey’s Findings
The National Union of Students (NUS) survey found that around three in five (almost 60%) of students have gambled in some way in the past year, and nearly half of these (48%) did so supplement their income.
The NUS said this epidemic reflected the rising cost of tuition fees, rent and the fact that the student support provided by the government has failed to keep up with the soaring costs of living.
Many students are now turning to alternative ways of funding their courses, some of which can be quite risky.
‘I Gambled to Afford Rent’
The rising costs of living have, arguably, hit London students the hardest. Unscrupulous landlords are making huge profits on student accommodation, and social pressures mean that students are often finding themselves still spending money on nights out and activities, even when they’re struggling financially.
Will, a student at Kingston University, admitted to us that he had gambled his loan last year in the hopes of making money to pay his rent.
He said: “It was before Christmas, and my loan hadn’t stretched far enough that month. Our loans aren’t even enough to pay rent, and so normally I work some shifts in the pub of a weekend. There wasn’t enough shifts that month, so I decided to use some money to place a large accumulator on the football. Luckily for me, it came in, but it was definitely a risky move that I wouldn’t want to have to rely on.”
Amber, another Kingston University student, shared a similar anecdote: “I’ve never really gambled before, but a few friends of mine had made quite a bit of money playing online slots. I was broke and I think the excitement of the games, and the chance of winning enough money to go out that, made me think it was a good idea. My wallet ended up £30 lighter and I walked away with nothing.”
The Rise of Mobile Gaming
Whilst at one point, gambling was a bit of a taboo subject, the rise of mobile casinos and betting sites has meant that many people are now more open to the idea of placing a bet. It seems light-hearted, fun, and you can do it whenever and wherever you want.
Moreover, mobile slots sites such as LeoVegas, GoWin and Mr Green often offer bonuses and promotions. Whilst, in theory, these offers can be rewarding, they also serve to appeal to those who wouldn’t usually deposit so much money at the casino.
So, what can be done? Student betting is hardly a new thing, yet in the past it was always done for fun. Now, as many students fail to make ends meet, it seems like the stakes are that bit higher.
Are students wrong for gambling or should our government be giving them more funding, so that they don’t have to seek extreme ways of making money? Share your thoughts with us below.