The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Sports betting on the rise among Utica students: ‘It entices a lot of people’

Students open sports betting apps. Photo: Diana Sidorevich, Managing Editor.

Every morning, a senior at Pioneer Village wakes up and checks his phone for daily sports bets. He places anywhere between 5-10 bets before brushing his teeth or eating breakfast, some on sports that he doesn’t even watch. 

Sports betting has become a part of his morning routine, and he finds himself constantly checking his phone throughout the day. 

“Every morning I’ll hop on Draftkings and see what bets are popular,” he said. “I’ll place a few of those and then maybe a couple on random sports that I don’t watch, like tennis and stuff like that.” 

He said he places bets because it’s fun to have something to look forward to. Even if he loses one bet, he always has the next one to focus on.

“I place bets on games that happen throughout the day,” he said. “I’m always checking my phone for the scores to see if my next bet is gonna hit… Because I usually bet on a lot of sports, I always have something to watch.” 

The rise of popularity and easy access has led to college athletes participating in sports betting. If a student is a registered NCAA athlete, they are not allowed to bet on any sports no matter the level, but because of the quick and easy nature of online betting apps, athletes are regularly violating NCAA rules. 

Sports betting is a form a gambling and can be addictive. Many students are aware that they are losing money, but continue to bet in hopes that they will make their money back.

According to Addiction Center, gambling stimulates the brain’s reward system in a similar way that substances can. Excessively betting on sports is a compulsive pattern of behavior that can lead to mental health, financial, social, and other personal problems.

In 2023, Americans wagered a record breaking $119.84 billion on sports betting, according to the American Gaming Association’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. This number is a 27.5% increase from the previous year, and thanks to more states legalizing sports betting, it is expected to keep rising.

With the rise in popularity of sports betting apps, like Fanduel and Draftkings, betting has never been easier. This accessibility has led to Utica University students to take part in this emergence of betting.  

Junior communication and media major James Brown said he noticed that sports betting has recently become more popular and every sports fan he knows bets on games.

“A lot of that I believe is due to these promotions that these leagues are posting such as getting free money when you sign up,” Brown said. “It entices a lot of people to want to bet and it’s grown a ton over the last year.”

Many Sportsbook apps will offer special deals that encourage people to create an account. For example, at the time of publication, Fanduel is promoting a deal in which signing up and depositing $5 will grant the user $150 in free bets. 

A senior psychology major at Utica, who chose to remain anonymous due to the nature of her profession, said these promotions are what led them to start betting on sports.

“Right before the Super Bowl my friend sent me a link to make a Draftkings account,” they said. “When I made an account with the link all I had to do was add $5 to the app to get $100 of free bets.” 

They said after they used all of the free bets that the app provided, they continued to bet with their own money. 

“I watch games now that I used to not care about,” they said. “It’s easy to scroll through the app and place bets, so I’ll place a few bets on sports I don’t watch just for fun, and then I’ll end up watching them just to see if the team I bet on is winning.”

Brown said it is common for people to place bets on sports that they would normally not watch.

He added: “It has to be a good game for me to want to place a bet on it but I know some guys who will bet on any kind of sport.”

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