Why Should We Educate Youth About Problem Gambling?
Educating youth about gambling can help them to avoid a lifetime as a Problem or Pathological Gambler. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), as many as 15% of young people asked have significant gambling problems, and 6% of teens who have gambled have become pathological gamblers.2
One study of more than 1,800 teenagers indicates that more than 2 out of 3 high school students have gambled, and nearly 25% of students gamble frequently. And those who gambled were between 2 and 8 times as likely to take illegal drugs (the actual rates varied by the type of drug) and 3 times as likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, binge drink, or drive drunk.3
The same study also showed that teenagers who gamble are far more likely to be “bullied,” threatened with weapons, see weapons at school or be involved in other forms of violence, and they are more likely to be the victims of theft.3
More Reasons to Educate Youth
- On average, problem gamblers say they began gambling at about 10 years of age.4
- Childhood exposure to gambling may increase the likelihood of gambling in adulthood (Kallick-Kaufman, 1979).1
- The age of onset for gambling has dropped so that now, throughout America, the majority of 12-year-olds have already gambled (Jacobs, 2000).
- Studies of young people over the last 10 years report that about 8% of adolescents, 12 to 17 years old, can be considered problem gamblers. Further, approximately 15% of youths were considered to be at risk of developing problems with gambling.5