Youth gambling is a major problem across Australia, especially among university students. Researchers at James Cook University have found that some are more likely than others to develop gambling addictions, determining that international students from China have unique risk factors. A report on the university’s webpage notes Wendy Li’s findings from the study.

With a team of researchers, she investigated the potential causes behind Chinese students’ predisposition towards problem gambling. Loneliness and lack of life experience are just two of many potential risk factors that may cause students to develop gambling addictions. Dr Li notes that Chinese students experience a great deal of academic pressure.

Their entire lives are focused around school, and they are driven to obtaining good grades throughout their younger years. So, when they are on their own in a new country, they aim to take control of their lives by experimenting with new activities. In many cases, they are introduced to gambling by other students and find it difficult to control their spending.

“A cross-account analysis of the data indicated that all the participants presented a strong urge to take control of their new lives, which appealed to both their curiosity and interest in having different and novel experiences,” reads the research report. Another major risk factor is the glamorisation of gambling in Chinese culture.

There are many Chinese movies in which the high roller gambling lifestyle is depicted in an alluring manner, while many households in the country engage in small-scale gambling games that include all members of the family. These risk factors normalise gambling among international students, and lead them to believe that there is no potential harm in taking part in casino games.

As a result of developing compulsive gambling habits, many international students suffer academically. By cutting classes and reducing their study time, they compromise their success in university. The report is fascinating, offering up a unique perspective on gambling among international students. To learn more, visit the James Cook University website.