Student Life Archives (2001-2008)

Raising the stakes: Sports gambling at Wash. U.

A $5 bet on Monday Night Football. Joining your father’s March Madness office pool. Asking your cousin to put $10 on the Cubs 60-1 odds to win the World Series. These forms of sports gambling have been around for years and are relatively commonplace. But with the rise of the Internet and online casinos, sports gambling is growing to a whole new level, especially for college students.

As a kid, I did my share of sports gambling. I joined my dad’s office March Madness pool on an annual basis, in addition to running one amongst my own friends. I also participated in an NFL office pool where I picked every game against the spread. That’s where it ended though, as I always had difficulty losing money. Today the sports gambling world has exploded and it is virtually entirely because of the Internet.

It used be that one would have to go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to place a legal bet on a ballgame. Now, hundreds of sites allow bets to be placed on any game at any given time. These sites serve basically as electronic bookies, except that they are legal and less likely to cut off your arm if you fail to pay up. Sports books at casinos used to be the only legal way to place a bet on sports, but now bets can be placed from the privacy and comfort of one’s home by simply clicking a mouse.

A common misconception is that the gambling age in America is 21. In actuality, the gambling age in America is 18, but in order to gamble in casinos, you must be 21, due to the presence of alcoholic beverages. Online gambling allows college students to gamble on sports as frequently as they please, and many are taking advantage.

“I gamble on sports online every once in a while, and I feel like most people who have accounts with sports gambling sites do the same,” said junior Nick Mulvihill. “It’s much easier than doing it through a bookie or at a casino, and allows 18 to 20-year-olds, like myself, to get in on the action.”

Another Wash. U. student who chose to remain anonymous for this story is a more serious online gambler.

“It started small in high school, maybe 50 bucks a game with a high school friend who was a bookie,” he explained. “Now it’s more like a couple hundred bucks a game, or even up to a thousand.”

For this gambler, it’s all about making the games more interesting.

“What’s the point of watching a game if your favorite team isn’t playing?” he asked. “Putting money on the game makes the game that much more entertaining. I guess that’s a sign of an addiction to gambling.”

Print This Post Print This Post

No Comments Yet

You can be the first to comment!

Student Life is the independent student newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis. Keep in touch with Washington University by subscribing to an RSS feed of our stories or an RSS feed of our comments. Privacy Policy | Comments Policy | Web Policy