Thousands of students at universities across the UK are developing gambling habits that risk plunging them into significant amounts of debt.
That’s according to a survey carried out by the National Union of Students (NUS), which found that a majority (59 per cent) of students had gambled at some point during the past year.
Just less than half (48 per cent) of those students who have been gambling in recent months said that they’d done so at least in part in an effort to supplement their income.
Around 8 per cent of respondents to the poll said that they had gambled at least some part of their student loans, which equates to nearly 100,000 people if extrapolated out to cover the whole of the UK.
While not everyone who gambles will fall into debt, it is clear that significant numbers of young people are gambling in the hope of topping up their bank balances but soon finding themselves in thousands of pounds worth of debt.
The NUS has said that financial support provided to students by government bodies is not keeping pace with rising costs of living and having the effect of encouraging people to gamble.
According to the recent research, which involved 1,600 people, a majority of those in debt due to gambling owe more than £1,000, while around one in five are more than £5,000 in the red.
A growing number of students are gambling in an effort to cover the costs of their most fundamental expenses, including their rent and their household bills, according to the NUS survey.
“I think anecdotally more students are relying on gambling as a means of finance rather than just doing it for fun,” Eva Crossan Jory, NUS vice president for welfare, told the Independent.
“It is so easy nowadays to gamble on your phone and not even realise that you may have a serious addiction. It doesn’t always seem like real money when it is all online.”
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Almost one in three people living across Britain will rely on some form of borrowing to cover the costs of Christmas.
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