The use of sports betting apps has become legal in many states over the past few years, and some universities have even partnered with these companies to promote their services to students.

A 2023 study by the NCAA found that sports betting is becoming increasingly popular among college students, a worrisome trend as young people are particularly at risk of developing a gambling addiction.

As a follow up to’s study from last year, which found that 1 in 5 college students have used financial aid and/or student loan money to gamble, in July, we surveyed over 700 current undergraduate students in the U.S. to learn more about student gambling habits.

Key findings include:

  • 54% of students have gambled while in college
  • 1 in 3 students gamble online and 1 in 5 gamble on sports betting apps
  • 1 in 4 online gamblers believe they have a gambling addiction
  • 8% of online gamblers have driven across state lines to gamble in a legal state
  • 1 in 7 online gamblers are spending $1K+ on gambling per month
  • One-third of online gamblers say app promos strongly influence them to gamble
  • 1 in 5 students say their school has partnerships with betting companies
  • 4 in 10 students say their school does not provide education on responsible gambling

54% of Students Have Gambled While in College

More than half of undergraduate students surveyed say they have participated in some form of gambling while in college. This number is higher for students identifying as men (60%) than those identifying as women (49%). One-third of students have participated in online gambling, and 1 in 5 students have used sports betting apps.

When students who gamble online were asked how frequently they do so, 6% said they gamble online daily, 20% said a few times per week, 30% said a few times per month, and 44% said they rarely gamble online.

4 in 10 Online Gamblers Started Before College

Though most U.S.-based gambling apps require users to prove they are 21 years of age or older, there are ways to get around the age requirement, such as using offshore apps.

Among college students who gamble online, 5% say they started in middle school, 36% in high school, and 59% in college. Eleven percent of online gamblers also say that gambling is a big part of their lives.

Additionally, 95% of respondents in this group say they are at least somewhat interested in watching sports, and 47% are current or former college athletes.

1 in 5 Students Say Their School Has Partnered With Sports Betting Companies

Partnerships between sports betting companies and college athletic departments usually consists of these companies paying the school for the right to advertise their services to students, often via app promo codes that relate to the schools’ teams. Twenty percent of students surveyed say their school has such a partnership in place.

Two-thirds of students also say they know of at least one student who participates in sports betting, while 24% say they know of six or more students who do. Additionally, 31% of students say their school has a policy against gambling on campus, 21% say their school does not have a policy, and 48% aren’t sure.

4 in 10 Say Their School Does Not Provide Education on Responsible Gambling

Twenty-two percent of students say their school provides education on responsible gambling habits, 41% say their school does not provide this education, and 37% aren’t sure. However, 57% say their school does provide counseling services for gambling addiction, 13% say their school does not, and 31% aren’t sure.

1 in 4 Online Gamblers Believe They Are Addicted

Twenty-six percent of students who gamble online say they probably or definitely have a gambling addiction. Among this 26%, more than a third say they have reached out for help with their addiction.

Out of all student online gamblers, 15% say gambling has negatively affected their mental health, while 66% say it has not affected their mental health, and 19% say it has positively affected their mental health.

Twenty-one percent of students who gamble online say gambling has positively affected their social life, while 70% say it has not affected their social life and 9% say it has negatively affected their social life.

Additionally, 8% of student online gamblers say gambling has negatively affected their school performance, 81% say it has not affected their school performance, and 11% say it has positively affected their school performance.

1 in 7 Online Gamblers Spend $1,000+ on Gambling Each Month

Fourteen percent of student online gamblers say they spend $1,000 per month or more on gambling each month. Fifty-two percent say they, so far, have made more money on gambling than they’ve spent, 30% have spent more than they’ve made, and 18% aren’t sure. The majority of students on both sides have made or lost a total of $500 or less.

1 in 5 Online Gamblers Have Used Student Loans and/or Financial Aid Money to Gamble

When asked about the income sources they use to gamble, the majority of students say the money comes from their personal savings or credit cards. However, 20% admit to using money meant for student loans and/or financial aid in order to gamble.

One-Third of Online Gamblers Say App Promos Strongly Influence Them to Gamble

When asked about the factors that most influence them to gamble, 34% of student online gamblers say sportsbook promotions strongly influence them, while 26% cite the need to make back money lost to gambling.

8% of Online Gamblers Have Driven Across State Lines in Order to Gamble

Among online gamblers surveyed, 86% say online gambling is legal in the state where they attend school while 14% say it is illegal. Within this 14%, more than half (or 8% of all student online gamblers) have driven across state lines in order to access gambling apps legally.


This online poll was commissioned by and conducted on SurveyMonkey Audience starting July 20, 2023. Respondents consist of a national sample that was randomly selected from a U.S. panel. 702 full-time or part-time undergraduate college students aged 18-25 completed the survey. Learn more about SurveyMonkey’s methodology or contact [email protected] for more information.