A study by Rutgers University on the prevalence of gambling in New Jersey shows that online betting is much more common than face-to-face gambling. It also highlights the profound relationship between gambling and mental health, addiction, frequency and severity.

Gambling abuse and misuse is a problem. The likelihood of gambling becoming destructive has many different causes. A study carried out by Rutgers University, which analysed the population of New Jersey, looked at the causes and consequences of gambling on the individual. It analyses behaviour by age group and class. It also examines the preference for online gambling or gambling in physical locations. 

The report does not overlook the consequences that can result from abnormal behavior. The first study, conducted by Rutgers University, focused on online gambling, while this second study focuses on sports betting. Social media is currently having a significant impact in all areas.

The impact of all the sporting events that are constantly in the news, flooding the traditional media as well as the new trends, continues to be a huge attraction for new players. This leads to a growing number of players who remain occasional gamblers or even become addicted.

The conditions and effects of legalised sports betting, in the case of New Jersey since 2018, are undeniable. It has been concluded that around 33% of 18-24 year olds prefer the internet to a physical location to place their bets. The university's first study, conducted in 2017, found just over 6%.

Young people prefer to gamble online rather than in physical locations. GETTY IMAGES
Young people prefer to gamble online rather than in physical locations. GETTY IMAGES

They, the young people, are the age group that places the most bets and the one that is the most difficult to control. So what does all this mean? Well, undoubtedly, the ease with which betting can now be done, just by clicking on a mobile phone, an iPad... makes things uncontrollable.

The study also reflects the likelihood that these young people will become high-risk gamblers. For example, one in five gamblers in this age group, 18 to 24, ends up with damage that is very difficult to repair. Depression, anxiety, mental illness and, of course, family and social trauma are some of the consequences that can result from this potential behaviour. 

The university study used the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), which categorises gambling into three levels: non-problematic gambling, low-risk gambling and problematic gambling, both at medium and high risk levels. The latter category includes the majority of young people aged 18-24. The fieldwork for this report focused on problem and high-risk gambling among young people.