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Video Poker could increase campus problems

Mon, 03 Sep 2012 09:38:00 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker

Adding video poker gambling to alcohol as Bloomington and Normal are close to doing is a recipe for college student problems. That's according to researcher Cindy Kerber. The professor at the Mennonite College of Nursing at ISU says alcohol fueled decision making is not good decision making, especially since automatic teller machines are in many bars.

"Even small amounts of alcohol have been shown to increase the risky bets. Unfortunately then the students might find the next day that they have less money on their account than they did the day before."

She says video terminal gambling is also problematic.

"It's faster moving and it's continuous. And those two factors seem to make it more addictive than other forms of gambling, lottery tickets or playing bingo., Video lottery gambling has been referred to as the crack cocaine of gambling."

Kerber says in other states, this has caused more problems among college students than other segments of the population.

"Because the video lottery terminals have been placed in bars near college campuses and the combination of alcohol and video gambling causes an increased amount of time at the machine and riskier bets."

There's also evidence that college students are more at risk regardless of the form of gambling.

"College students are two to three times more likely to develop gambling pathology than adults in the general population."

And she says student athletes are at even higher risk for problems.

She says admissions to Iowa gambling treatment centers increased 28% in the two years after video lottery terminals came into that state. Kerber says that trend caused Iowa to ban the machines again. Kerber says bankruptcy rates among non gamblers are about 5%. Among problem gamblers bankruptcies rise to 11%. And for pathological gamblers, 20% file court papers for financial wipeouts. She says some states have found introducing lotteries reduced consumer spending and economic activity in other sectors. And she says the spread of gambling availability outside casino enclaves makes it hard to avoid.

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