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English Gambling Education Mark Logo
Survey reveals the majority of UK university students are gambling

It’s that time of year again when students head back to their university campuses after the summer break. They will be joined by a new cohort of freshers who are leaving home for the first time and beginning their university adventure. While everyone is there to achieve qualifications, there is more to student life than studying. Students are embracing new experiences and learning about life’s opportunities and risks.  

One activity that we know students are engaging with at university is gambling. The Annual Student Gambling Survey 2023 found that 71% of students had gambled at least once in the past 12 months. Among those students who gamble, one in four may be experiencing harm, with half of students who gamble admitting that gambling has impacted their university experience. 

The survey included the Short-form PGSI – a widely used measure of ‘problem gambling’ in the UK population – which enabled the researchers to understand the level of risk experienced by students in the sample. 

Half of all respondents reported that gambling had impacted their university experience, with 13% having trouble paying for food, 10% missing lectures and tutorials, 10% saying gambling affected their assignments and grades, and 9% struggling to pay bills or for accommodation. Despite this, 45% of those who gamble were unaware of the support available to them from their universities. 

One in three say they spend £11-£20 per week on gambling; nearly one in four (23%) spend £21-£50; and 13% spend £51-£100. When we say “spend”, we mean the overall amount you stake and lose, subtracting any wins. 4.5%, say they gamble because they are unable to stop. 

University is an exciting but often stressful time; young people are navigating new friendships, living independently, and managing money for the first time. 

The survey findings give us insight into the attitudes and behaviours of students towards gambling. Building on the data published last year, we can now see that not only are a large percentage of the student population gambling on a regular basis, many of them are doing so in a way that may cause them to experience harm.  

45% of students were unaware of any support provided by their university, so education and awareness are a clear first step. It is crucial that university staff and student unions are equipped with the knowledge and understanding to effectively safeguard, support and signpost students.