Gambling in any way shape or form is restricted to adults aged 18 and over, so why is that we are seeing more and more teens with a gambling addiction? According to new research, some 25,000 children between the age of 11 and 16 are problem gamblers. Another 36,000 children are at risk of developing a problem, but why? Most children try their hand at gambling with fruit machines in arcades or on the lottery – and it doesn’t help when television ads bombard them with gambling ads…
… GambleAware, the charity, has warned of its concerns about the everyday normalisation of gambling and is calling for a precautionary approach. Statistics show that at least 1 in 10 children have gambled with ‘skins’ via video games, which may not sound alarming, but by their very nature, they are attracting children to gamble with goods in exchange for in-game items, or even money in some cases – and it is these that are linked with a higher risk of gambling addiction, according to experts who carried out the research…
It’s Not Just Happening in the UK Though:
…In a survey carried out in the US, there were three topics for games; online poker, online slot games and social media casino games from Facebook. As many as 37% - 50% of young people who gambled for money and played social media casino games, met the criteria for low to moderate or high problem gambling.
Tara Elton-Marshall from CAMH's Institute for Mental Health Policy Research said; "Adolescents' participation in seemingly risk-free social casino games is a concern because we know that early exposure to gambling activities is a risk factor for developing gambling problems in the future.”
“While it's not clear whether young people begin in social casino games and move to gambling for money, or if adolescents who are gambling for money also seek out these free games, there is evidence that social casino gaming may build excitement for gambling and encourage the transition into monetary gambling. It's important for young people, parents, teachers and others to be aware that these risks exist.”
Livia Veselka, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at CAMH also expressed her concerns; “With the growing number of social casino games over the past five years, and high levels of screen time among young people, we believe our findings may under-represent social casino gaming by adolescents today.”
Gambling Addiction Helpline on the Increase:
A UK-wide gambling addiction hotline has revealed, that calls to its helpline have risen by more than 30% over the last five years. New figures from the National Gambling Helpline show it took 29,889 calls in 2017-18, which is up from 22,875 in the year of 2013-14. Anna Hemmings, the chief-executive of helpline said about 66% of calls were about financial problems, while about 50% of callers were worried about their mental health.
Source: “Free online casino games linked with higher risks of gambling problems for young people” https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/cfaa-foc102318.php. The Global Source for Science News. October 24, 2018.