Teenage Gambling Problems Grow as US States Welcome Wagering
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, 60% to 80% of high school students report having gambled for money in the previous year
As more than 30 states in America legalise gambling, the issue facing teens worsens as a new problem for high school students arises. Youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17 who meet one or more criteria for having a gambling addiction account for four to five per cent of the population.
Gambling has transformed in recent years, from bricks and mortar clubs, where you were required to turn up in person, to a readily available, unlimited array of online options enticing you with glittering offers and bonuses. What's more, this is all accessible on smartphones. There are worries that as betting becomes more widely available, more children will start gambling.
The pandemic undoubtedly played a part in the increase of online gambling. It is inevitable that having easy access to gambling on your device while having to isolate at home alone is bound to have an effect.
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, 60% to 80% of high school students report having gambled for money in the previous year, even though the legal minimum age to do so ranges from 18 to 21 and varies from state to state.
Pathological teen gamblers often exhibit the following symptoms:
- *Likes the rush felt when gambling
- *Will try almost anything to stay in the game
- *Really wants to win "the big one," but will keep playing even when losing a great deal.
Whilst males are more likely to develop gambling addictions; females are increasingly more involved in teen gambling.
There have been previous attempts to inform young people about the adverse effects of gambling, but they were unsuccessful. The US Senate Minority Leader, Bryan Simonaire, has been working for the past three years to pass a law that would have let the Maryland Board of Education, to develop a problem gambling curriculum that local school systems could use in high schools. Unfortunately, this has failed due to teacher opposition and the inability of his measures to move beyond committee. Simonaire said in an interview:
“The point I made is, you got all this money, and now you have a moral obligation to inform and to teach kids to see the warning signs.”
Sean Hornbuckle, a financial advisor in West Virginia, attempted to establish a three-year pilot programme in five public high schools this year to include problem gambling in a financial literacy class. The Bill would consist that the operator must ensure the participants are 21, participants are in the state or a permissible jurisdiction, and that gaming protocols are in place to minimize problem gambling and keep the games fair and honest. The Republican-led education committee saw the Bill quietly die.
Although, last year, the Wisconsin Council created a video programme to provide education and awareness on problem gambling disorders by developing a free class for high schools. This was made available through virtual learning.
North Carolina has also tackled the subject by explaining the harmful impacts of gambling in lesson plans, creating posters and movies, as well as teaching the history of gambling.
It is clear that there is a problem that needs to be addressed, and considering that children tend to be less averse to risk than adults, the question lies, is the American education system doing enough? A sooner rather than later approach is paramount.
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iGaming News • USA