Wagering Risks for the US Students and A New Era of Internet Gambling

in the involvement of organized crime on sports wagering.”81 Students who gamble on sports can be at risk for gambling problems later in life. There is evidence that sports wagering can act as a gateway to other forms of gambling. Therefore, it is important to understand the scope of the problem and educate students to the dangers of sports wagering. The Commission needs to know how widespread the phenomenon of underage sports gambling is now, the relationship between sports wagering and other forms of gambling, and the ways to prevent its spread. Those who attempt to draw adolescents into illegal sports wagering schemes deserve the full attention of law enforcement efforts.
There is much justifiable concern about the rise of sports wagering on college campuses. For example, Dempsey has argued that “there is evidence more money is spent on gambling on campuses than on alcohol.” Dempsey claimed that “[e]very campus has student bookies. We are also seeing an increase in the involvement of organized crime in sports wagering.”82 Bill Saum, who is the NCAA official who oversees efforts to address gambling, has called campus betting “the Number One thing in the 90s in college.”83 Three years ago, Sports Illustrated called college betting “rampant and prospering.”84 Gambling rings have been uncovered at Michigan State, University of Maine, Rhode Island, Bryant, Northwestern, and Boston College, among many other institutions.85 While studies of college gambling are sparse, Lesieur has found in a survey of six colleges in five states that 23 percent of students gambled at least once a week.86 The same study found that between 6 and 8 percent of college students are “probable problem gamblers,” which was defined in that study as having uncontrollable gambling habits.87 There is some concern that gambling by students may lead to problem or pathological gambling in later life.88
Beginning with its introduction on the World Wide Web in the summer of 1995, Internet gambling is the newest medium offering games of chance.89 While projected earnings are open to subjective interpretations, the previously small number of operations has grown into an industry practically overnight. In May of 1998, there were approximately 90 on-line casinos, 39 lotteries, 8 bingo games, and 53 sports books. One year later, there are over 250 on-line casinos, 64 lotteries, 20 bingo games, and 139 sportsbooks providing gambling over the Internet.90 Sebastian Sinclair, a gambling industry analyst for Christiansen/Cummings Associates, estimates that Internet gambling revenues were $651 million for 1998, more than double the estimated $300 million from the previous year.91 A separate study conducted by Frost and Sullivan shows that the Internet gambling industry grew