OFF to UNIVERSITY - Recognising the signs


The Warning Signs

You are feeling proud that your son/daughter has been accepted at University and there has never been any indication that they would be interested in gambling.  For many this may be the first time they have been away from home, they may have been advanced a relatively large sum of money in the form of a student loan which will never cover the cost of the lifestyle they want to achieve once they have spent a big proportion in the first month or so.

As the money runs out they are forced to spend more time not going out and inevitably will spend an increased amount of time online.  The attraction of gambling may be a way for them to finance their desired lifestyle but as we all know this is just the start of a very slippery slope.  Supporting from a distance can be challenging but having many of the preventative barriers in place from the earlier years programmes will support such measures.

10 things to look for - Off to University


  • Excessive use of devices, lying about the amount of time spent online and isolated behaviour (this can be monitored by setting up parental controls on all devices)
  • Spending excessive money online – monitor online banking transactions
  • Change in attitude - moody, aggressive and argumentative behaviour (noticeable during phone calls and visits home
  • ‘The Look’, zoned out, greyness, looking ill, loss of weight and not taking pride in appearance 
  • Compulsive eating and not eating healthily 
  • Borrowing money/taking out loans – increased levels of post delivered to the home
  • Reduced visits home - becoming disengaged with family life 
  • Selling possessions  
  • Frequent class absences
  • Dishonesty - telling lies/stealing things  


10 things to do - Off to University

So the alarm bells have started to ring.  You know there is a problem but with your son/daughter being away from home its difficult to know what to do for the best.

  • Open a bank account that has gambling blocks enabled – have shared access.  Ensure student loan money is paid into a parental account.
  • Become ‘the expert’- visit the useful links page at do some research.  Establish a link at the University and speak to the welfare officer and ask about attendance to lectures.  Make an effort to visit more if possible.
  • Set up parental controls on all devices (go to the Parental Guides page) – register with Gamban and Gamstop
  • Self-exclude from high street betting/casino shops (multiple areas)
  • Register with a credit reference agency – for example Credit Monitor – this will allow you to monitor your child's credit score and track any activity such as loans on their file
  • Monitor letters that arrive at the home address – banks, loans etc
  • Monitor activity on social media  
  • Visit the GP – Although both gaming/gambling addictions are now recognised as a mental disorder some doctors may not be experts in these areas – families can self refer to NHS Gaming and Gambling Clinics.  Find out about counselling in the area they are in.
  • Attend a Gambler’s Anonymous (GA) or GamAnon (for the family) meeting