Don’t gamble with addiction in college

In Opinion
It is easy for college students to fall into the trap of gambling. Instead of properly weighing the pros and cons, students are sometimes quick to dismiss the negative repercussions that might come with gambling. (Photo Illustration by Katie Albertson / Daily Titan)

After receiving a paycheck, a well-deserved treat seems appropriate. Most college students look to gambling as a way to double their money and have a fun time.

However, the addicting nature of gambling is far too downplayed, especially by college students, and it’s mostly because many don’t recognize the dangerously habit-forming behavior when playing.

Seventy-five percent of college students gambled last year, according to the National Center for Responsible Gaming.

But all too often, students start to gamble without knowing much about its dangers which can eventually lead to big losses. Part of this behavior can be explained by the gambler’s fallacy.

Gambler’s fallacy is when a player sees a pattern repeating and expects a change to occur, according to Psychology Today. For instance, if the player sees the color red repeatedly show up they will bet on the color black with the assumption that the color will have to change.

In doing so, there is the expectation that such a pattern actually exists when gambling, which isn’t true. Gamblers will continue to play believing they will surely win.

With college students lacking experience, they can’t assume there’s some easy pattern for gambling. If such a system were so easy to figure out, the amount of big winners would be endless and gambling wouldn’t be a gamble.

Another situation that often occurs among gamblers is the bandwagon effect. It occurs when a big lottery subsequently leads many to buy in, even those who don’t typically gamble, according to Psychology Today.

Furthermore, in times like these it’s easy for college students to fall prey to peer pressure. But it’s precisely in moments like these that students must be able to separate others’ opinions from their own and make educated decisions.

Rather than fall prey to gambler’s fallacy or surrender to the bandwagon effect, take a minute and learn the odds of the game. Is it worth making a bet if the odds of winning are little to none? More often that not, betting won’t be worth it.

Students should also know the difference between having fun and being addicted.

Compulsive gambling occurs when emotions are factored in, according to Mayo Clinic. Restlessness or inability to cut back on gambling hints that something is wrong. Lying to friends and family and constantly thinking about betting and playing also can be signs of a gambling addiction.

At the same time, students should make decisions with a full understanding of gambling and the different choices available to them. Despite it not being one of the more publicized or recognized problems, gambling can become problematic and even lead to other forms of undiagnosed addiction.

Rather than gamble $100 with the chance of doubling it, consider putting the money in a savings account that collects interest for a future expense like travel or loans.

When it comes to money, it’s better to be sensible and practical rather than risky and naive. Don’t let the temptations of gambling take hold and morph into an addiction. Treat gambling as an activity that can be fun in moderation and be aware of the impractical odds of gambling at all times.

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