Australia Study Notes Gambling Problems Are Higher in International Students Rather than Domestic Students

Australia Study Notes Gambling Problems Are Higher in International Students Rather than Domestic Students

A recent study done by the University of Tasmania found that while many university students’ gambled, international students had a far higher rate of problem gambling. The study found that international students might experience problem gambling for a variety of reasons, many which deal with cultural norms and values of the student’s home country. Male international students are particularly at risk for problem gambling, according to the study.

The Study

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Tasmania. The Centre for Rural Health sponsored the study. The centre’s emphasis is on the health of people in rural areas of Tasmania as well as other parts of Australia. Researchers polled nearly 1400 students for the study. The students ranged in age from 19 to 25, and researchers tried to get an equal proportion of male and female students, as well as domestic and international students. The students answered several questions on the survey.

Results

Of the 1400 students who answered the survey questions, researchers found that 56% of Australian students had participated in gambling. Thirty-eight percent of international students reported they participated in gambling during the last year. While the percentage of international students were lower than domestic students who gambled, the number of international students who have a problem with gambling was much higher. Nearly 3% of international students fell within the problem gambling range, according to the survey. This rate is nearly double that of domestic students. Their rate was 1.4%. Researchers noted that because the percentage of gamblers was lower for international students, their rate of problem gambling was more concerning.

This rate of international student gambling also is higher than the gambling population in Tasmania as well. Only .5 percent of Tasmanians fall within the problem gambling population. Between .5 percent and 1% of Australians fall into the problem gambling category as a whole. In addition, male international students have a particularly hard time with gambling. Researchers found that 15% of international male students in Tasmania have a gambling problem, which represents a very large number.

Problem Gambling, Other Behaviors, and Culture

Australia Study Notes Gambling Problems Are Higher in International Students Rather than Domestic StudentsWhen students were asked about their reasons for gambling, over 75% of Australian students and 84% of international students say they gamble for fun. The students also said that they gamble because it is exciting, and they have a chance to win big money. Students, both domestic and international, reported they gambled to escape boredom, because it was challenging, and because it was relaxing.

International students (62%) reported that they took part in some form of gambling for the first time in their home countries. This is especially true of students from Asia. In many places in Asia, gambling is illegal. Many governments in Asia banned gambling because of their national beliefs, such as China, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Other countries in Asia ban gambling because it conflicts with their religious beliefs. Countries like Bhutan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran do not have gambling because each of those countries is majority Muslim, and Muslims are not allowed to gamble. When those students come to Australia where all forms of gambling are legal, and they encounter gambling advertising. They are able to access online gambling and bet shops. Often, these students begin gambling because it is available.

Researchers also noted that some international students spent a great deal of time in their youth playing table games. For example, many students come from countries where mahjong and snooker games, as well as local table games, played from childhood. Mahjong is an example of a table game that children learn in China, and continue to play throughout their lives. Often, people bet on the outcome of mahjong games. This, researchers say, sets international students up for gambling.

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