Illegal sports betting at the University of Florida
Part 3: Consequences

By Alexis Ashby | Jan. 24, 2023

Because illegal sportsbooks are run on credit, bettors are less inclined to bet responsibly. “Sometimes, people will bet with money they don’t even have,” said one student at the University of Florida who bets illegally often. “And then at the end of the week, they can’t pay.”

When this happens, bettors can make payment plans with bookies to pay off debts over time, but if they stop responding or paying, bookies have little other recourse but to kick them off their book. Unlike legal books, there’s really no way to make people pay their debts.

College students already have some of the highest risks of substance abuse, according to a 2019 report from Brigham Young University. Mental illness, academic stress, culture and peer pressure are some of the leading reasons for substance abuse.

When students become addicted to sports betting, “they go into a dissociative state” that causes them to essentially forget about their life’s other problems, said Jeff Derevensky, a psychiatry and psychology professor at McGill University in Montreal.

This is especially prevalent among college-aged males, who have a much higher risk of developing a gambling addiction than the general public.