Online poker gambling among university students: Risky endeavour or harmless pastime?

Abstract

This study aims to describe online poker gambling patterns and associated problems in a representative sample of university students. The study sample consisted of 366 past-year online and offline poker gamblers and was drawn from a larger survey sample of full-time undergraduate students (Nā€Š=ā€Š2,139) randomly selected across four university campuses in Montreal, Canada. The questionnaire included self-reported measures of poker gambling patterns and problems, negative consequences of gambling, drinking problems, and illicit drug use. Online poker was found to be associated with problem gambling, over-spending and debt, as well as problems with university studies, interpersonal relationships, and illicit drug use. Given the propensity of university students to adopt risky behaviours, on-campus prevention programs are warranted in the midst of the online poker craze, especially given that online gambling remains unregulated. Detection tools should be available for students to recognize critical shifts in their gambling habits from a leisure activity to a risky endeavour.

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