The idea behind a new Stockton University survey was to see how the legalization of sports betting impacted the gambling behavior of college students, according to Jane Bokunewicz, associate professor of hospitality at Stockton.

Bokunewicz said the most surprising statistic was that 52% of students prefer casino slots as the most popular form of wagering. Lottery was second (43%) followed by casino table games (30%) and sports betting came in fourth place (28%).

The survey was distributed online during the spring 2019 semester and the report is based on responses submitted by 502 students.

The survey found that 64% of participating college students report having gambled in the past.

Bokunewicz said the good news is that there was no increase in problem gambling from the 2016 study until now.

"But we did find that people who reported having problems with gambling, did start gambling at a younger age. People did start betting on sports at a younger age, mostly between friends," she added.

Among the percentage of students who have gambled, 21% first gambled when they were under 18.

The survey also found that 60% of respondents who said they gambled on sports reported no change in their sports gambling behavior since sports betting was legalized in New Jersey in June 2018.

Slots and the lottery were more popular among women while table games and sports betting were more popular among men.

Bokunewicz said that 75% of respondents reported having gambled on sports with the most popular being professional football followed by college basketball and pro-basketball.

Mobile betting was the most popular method of sports gambling with 43% of respondents using a mobile sports book.

Students who have gambled said they did mostly for fun and social reasons. But Bokunewicz said a higher percentage of students who reported having a problem with gambling said it was more for escape and dreams of winning a jackpot.

For more information on The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, call 800-GAMBLER or go to www.800gambler.org.

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