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Online gambling on fantasy sports a dangerous habit for college students

Since taking its digital media operations in-house, the NFL has seen annual visits to its properties quadruple, to 1.2 billion, and the number of fantasy football players triple.

Fantasy gambling has jumped leaps and bounds over the past few months with the creation of daily sports gambling sites such as Draft Kings, FanDuel, Draftpot and many others.

Fantasy gambling sites target younger generations by advertising on social media and setting the initial buy-ins very low to hook our collegiate age group into making weekly gambling a low-risk, high-reward part of our lives. It is also appealing to our generation because gambling on sports is much more popular and accessible for younger people than slot machines and card games.

It is evident that these fantasy gambling activities will soon take hold of the masses because the people that work for fantasy gaming websites are already being affected negatively by it. A probe was recently launched into the activities of fantasy website workers using insider information to gain an advantage on other gamblers using the websites. Despite people already being caught cheating, these sites make massive amounts of cash available and the illegal activities people can do to win are sure to continue.

The real danger with online gambling is that detection is very difficult. It is easy to notice dangerous gambling habits when your roommate is gambling a little too much at the weekly game of Texas Hold 'em. But online gambling is usually a solitary endeavor. No one is around. It is just the user, their credit card and the website ready to take their money.

These fantasy gambling websites are attempting to turn gambling on fantasy sports into a habitual event for college students and sports fans alike. Gambling on sporting events or players daily, weekly or monthly can rapidly evolve into a dangerous habit that is known to rob bank accounts, cause depression and expose young adults to desperate and dangerous situations.

Gambling online, as well as any other type of gambling, quickly turns into a compulsory behavior whether the user is winning or losing. If they are winning, that only encourages them to gamble more. If they are losing, then they will want to gamble more to cover their loses.

This is especially dangerous because people soon find themselves in deep debt unable to recover their losses in a phase of desperation. 

As reported in USA Today, an extreme case even lead to death. "A student at the University of Wisconsin murdered his three roommates because he owed them thousands in gambling debts. The trio had helped him place bets with an offshore gambling company. He had lost $15,000 through gambling and withdrawn $72,000 from his bank account to support his habit before he committed the murders," according to the article.

This is a disturbing case of a young man acting out of desperation due to a lack of restraint, pressure from debtors and a feeling of anxiety over the repercussions of his massive debt.

Let's spread awareness of this shocking case so we can protect our generation from the potential dangers of fantasy sports gambling and other types of gambling in general. How about everyone just enjoys watching the game and the spectacular catches instead of risking paychecks on results that are out of personal control.

If you or a loved one believe a gambling problem may be developing, call the National Council on Problem Gambling Hotline at 1-800-522-4700.

Related Links:

Student bets on success with poker site

Fantasy football affects how fans root for games

Reach the columnist at or follow @GrahamASUpress on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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