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t r .The Michigan Daily - Weed,
Campus high rollers don't always know w
By Elena Lipson
Daily Staff Writer
"It was 2 a.m. and we had little
stacks worth S200 each," recounted
LSA junior Mike, who requested that
his last name be withheld. "We were
trying to make a St. Louis arch
between (our separate stacks).
Eventually we did and won 52,500.
And then we went to the strip club
after. It was an exciting night." he
described his biggest casino win.
Mike, who cruises off to Canada's
Casino Windsor about once a week,
is an avid gambler both inside and
outside the casino. In addition to
playing blackjack, roulette,
Caribbean stud poker and craps,
every day he places other "little bets
like who did better on a test, or who's
right about a given occurrence."
Mike may be an extreme case, but
gambling grooves like his are surpris-
ingly prevalent among college stu-
dents. A 1991 study conducted by
Leiseur et al. examined 1771 students
from six colleges and universities in
five states, and reported a full 85 per-
cent of students gamble with 23 per-
cent gambling once a week or more.
A more recent 1998 study by
Winters, Dorr and Stinchfield recon-
firmed these findings and testified
that gambling continues to thrive on
The most popular form of gam-
bling, according to the Leiseur study,
is playing cards for money, in which
51 percent of respondents participat-
ed. Other popular gambling activities
are casino games (49 percent), num-
bers or lotteries (46 percent), games
of skill such as pool, bowling or golf
(44 percent), bingo (43 percent),
horse or dog races (31 percent) and
sports betting (29 percent). The study
also found that males gambled more
than females in all games except
An avenue for even greater growth
in gambling exists on the Internet.
The only study to examine the fre-
quency of Internet gambling was a
1998 University of Michigan study
conducted by Michael Cross and Ann
Vollano on student-athletes. They
found roughly 1 percent of gamblers
use the Internet to gamble. Bill
Saum, NCAA director of agent and
gambling activities, predicts an
increase in this number because most
college students possess the
resources to gamble on the Internet
-- two-thirds of college students
have credit cards, and most have
access to unlimited Internet use.
Moreover, Internet gambling offers
student gamblers the tantalizing
prospect of "virtual anonymity."
Yet regardless of the type of gam-
bling activities students engage in,
they usually gamble for similar rea-
The most common motive for gam-
bling is pure recreation.
LSA junior Andy (last name with-
held) explained, "It's an entertain-
ment form. There are only so many
parties, movies, bars and times you
can hang out with the guys. It's fun.
They (Casino Windsor) comp you
free stuff. I can have a free hotel
room anytime I'm there or get free
food for my friends."
Not everyone is enough of a high
roller to get free amenities like Andy.
Nikeisha Edwards is an LSA junior
whose gambling activities are limited
to the S30 she spent on bingo on
spring break last year.
"At first I just played for fun,"
Nikeisha said. "but then after under-
standing what the game was, I really
wanted to win."
Mike said he gambles both to
entertain himself and score some
"It makes things exciting. It's a
good way to supplement income. If
you're going to waste money anyway,
you may as well as take a chance to
get a lot more money for you to
waste," he rationalized.
LSA junior Howie Berman, who
typically bets SI0-S30 on sports
every week, said money is not the
The perfect combination of cards, cigars, and lots o' green is all t
driving force behind his gambling
"I really just do it to pique my
interest in sports," said Berman. "I
bet on games I wouldn't normally
watch just so I can watch them. More
people do it because they are sports
fans than anything else. I really don't
do it for the money."
In fact, Kevin O'Neill, New
Jersey's deputy director of the
Counsel on Compulsive Gambling,
said the only group of gamblers that
gamble purely for money are profes-
sional gamblers, which make up only
2-3 percent of the entire gambling
While money does not seem to be
the primary ignition behind student
gambling endeavors, it is what drives
the industry. In O'Neill's words, gam-
bling functions because there is an
inherent "house edge. Casinos are
built on losers."
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Loose change in the bank always gives the hungry gambler one last chance to strike it rich and baby a new pair of shoes.