March 11, 2024 4 min read


Student Gamblers Are Prone to Overspending, Ygam Study Says

Of the respondents, 28% remained at “moderate risk” of gambling harm, in line with last year’s result

Student gamblers are gambling oftentimes gambling more than they can afford, a recent study suggests. The new edition of the Annual Student Gambling Survey shows that the ongoing cost of living crisis has not prevented university students from overspending.

This is the third edition of the research, jointly commissioned by Ygam and GAMSTOP, and is based on a sample of 2,000 students across Britain. According to its findings, a whopping 60% of students had gambled at least once in the previous 12 months.

While representing a significant decrease from 71% in 2023, this figure is still concerning as 46% reported that their gambling had impacted their university experience. This impact included missed deadlines and an effect on students’ social activities. In addition, gambling exerted financial pressure on students, as they found it harder to cover basic expenses.

On average, student gamblers lost £35.25 a week, or £1,833 annually. 15% of the gambling students reported losing £50 or more per week. As a result, 32% resort to dipping into their savings to fund their gambling, 23% use money from their student loans and 10% ask for money from their parents. Concerningly, 8% of student gamblers resorted to overdraft to fund their hobby.

Of the respondents, 28% remained at “moderate risk,” in line with last year’s result. More optimistically, there was a slight increase in the percentage of students classified as problem gamblers from 24% last year to 21%.

Gamblers Were More Influenced by Friends than by Media

Trends show that female students, on average, were slightly less likely to overspend on gambling. Their preferred wagering activity was the National Lottery. In the meantime, male gamblers were most commonly attracted to the online sports betting vertical.

According to the survey, 34% of student gamblers are influenced by friends. In the meantime, 26% were influenced by sports events and 25% by social media. Roughly 40% have been criticized for their habits, while more than half admit that they feel guilty about their gambling.

Ygam and GAMSTOP continued to deliver training to university and student staff, thanks to which, 60% of students now feel comfortable accessing university gambling support.

Students and Digital Content

Fewer students were inclined to invest in cryptocurrency than a year before. Whereas 40% invested in crypto previously, now only 32% did so.

An overwhelming 78% of all students said they play video games. Of the respondents, 86% of the male students and 69% of the female students said that they enjoy gaming. In addition, 70% of the respondents who play video games admitted to having paid real money for a random chance in-game purchase.

Over half of all students (51%) agreed that random chance purchases constitute gambling. In the meantime, 19% disagreed with that while 20% were neutral on the matter.

What Experts Say

Ygam’s chief executive officer, Dr Jane Rigbye, discussed the results and the financial strain students are now exposed to. While Britain recorded a notable decrease in gambling participation rates among students over the past three years, problem gambling among younger players remains a serious issue.

We know the multifaceted harms associated with gambling extend beyond financial implications, and any level of harm is unacceptable.

Dr Jane Rigbye, CEO, Ygam

Rigbye added that gambling has been ingrained in university culture, which is why educational programs are very important. She encouraged people working in university settings to implement gambling harm prevention strategies on campus.

GAMSTOP’s chief executive officer, Fiona Palmer, on the other hand, praised the increased self-exclusion rates among young people. According to her, this highlights the importance of education.

The UK’s gambling minister, Stuart Andrew, also commented on the matter, emphasizing the importance of protecting younger players from harm. He said that this is why Britain recently introduced online slot limits for 18-24-year-olds.

Alongside this, we are introducing a host of measures this year that will better protect young people from gambling harms, including financial risk checks, tighter controls on advertising, and marketing and a statutory levy on gambling operators.

Stuart Andrew

Finally, Kellie McAlonan, chair of NASMA (National Association of Student Money Advisers) weighed in on the matter, saying that the extent to which students are impacted by gambling remains concerning. Because of that, student money advisers should teach players how to avoid harm. According to her, the advisory sector needs to “take every opportunity to raise awareness and address these concerns with students.”


Angel has a passion for all forms of writing, be it fiction or nonfiction. His curious nature gives him an ace up his sleeve when researching a new topic. Angel’s thirst for knowledge, paired with adaptability, always helps him find his way around.

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