teenager_computerStudies show that about 530,000 American teens visit gambling sites a month. While 4 percent to 5 percent of adult gamblers will develop a serious gambling problem, underage gamblers are three times as likely as adults to become compulsive gamblers. Teens with a gambling problem are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors such as unsafe sex, binge drinking, smoking marijuana and skipping school.

Teens can easily be drawn to gambling because of the thrill involved. They may also be hoping to make money without dealing with the pressures of school or a job.  People usually think that if they are winning, they are in-the-right. Kids at this age easily fall prey to that type of thinking. They also tend to live in the moment, take risks, and often don’t consider the negative consequences of their actions. Poor impulse control and lack good judgment is a characteristic of this age, as well. What makes controlling our kid’s in this area more difficult than in the past, is the availability of online betting outlets. Teens don’t have to travel, come up with cash, or conjure up fake ID’s to bet online. All they need to do is have access to credit and find a way to bypass fairly lax age verification processes.

    Here are some tips to recognize a teen gambling problem:

  •          Excessive “checking in” on the Internet
  •          Excessive TV sports watching 
  •          Intense concern in outcome of sports events
  •          Excessive interest in TV poker
  •          Unexplained late-night telephone calls
  •          Unexplained need for money or having debts
  •          Money or possessions missing from home
  •          Unexplained charges on credit card bills
  •          Flaunting large amounts of $
  •          Buying expensive items
  •          Frequent anxiety, depression or mood swings
  •          Withdrawal from friends and or family
  •          Absences from school or work
  •          Lower marks on tests and report cards