States Address Teenage Problem Gambling as Sports Betting Increases

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Teenage Problem Gambling as Sports Betting Increases.

With retail and online sports betting now permitted in more than 30 states, a new type of problem gambler—the high school student—is taking shape.

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, between 60 and 80% of high school students report having gambled for money in the previous year, despite the fact that the legal gambling age varies from 18 to 21 depending on the state. According to the organisation, the hazards for young adults have increased as a result of the epidemic and easy access to internet gaming.

An image with phones (Problem Gambling)
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According to the organisation, between 4 and 6% of high school students are gambling addicts.

According to Keith Whyte, executive director of the council, “we think that the danger of gambling addiction has climbed overall by 30% from 2018 to 2021, with the risk concentrated among young males ages 18 to 24 who bet on sports.” The council is a nonprofit organisation that promotes aiding problem gamblers while remaining ambivalent about legalised gaming.

According to research, high school children are twice as likely as adults to have gambling issues. Between the ages of 11 and 17, around 5% of all young individuals match at least one of the criteria for having a gambling problem, including appreciating the adrenaline that comes from gambling, making IOUs to continue in the game, and having a persistent desire to win “the big one.”

States have been racing to open the floodgates of tax money from the activity since the United States Supreme Court permitted legalised sports betting in 2018. Live, legal sports betting is permitted in thirty states and the District of Columbia, and it will soon be permitted in five additional states.

Support for the method has increased: A recent poll from The Washington Post and the University of Maryland found that around two-thirds of respondents, up from 55% in 2017, supported the legalisation of professional sports betting. However, around 60% of respondents voiced fear that the expansion of sports betting will result in a rise in youth gambling.

State gambling addiction services, however, are underfunded, according to Whyte and state officials, and their emphasis is on adults as sports betting grows more commonplace—in physical and mortar betting parlours and frequently for anybody with a cell phone.

Whyte stated that troubled children “slip between the gaps.”

According to Whyte and other experts, state legislatures and health departments are beginning to recognise that the youngest gamblers require assistance, but this understanding hasn’t yet translated into widely adopted youth gambling prevention initiatives.

Dem. Sam Rasoul of Virginia, who last year introduced the first state law in the nation requiring all public schools to teach pupils about the perils of gambling, claimed that “children and young people are the fastest-growing sector of gamblers.”

“Some families from Virginia contacted me and said, “This is an issue.” What should we do in response? “In an interview, he stated.

Rasoul’s bill, which received close to unanimity in the legislature, mandates that the state Board of Education create and disseminate instructional materials on gambling as part of the current curriculum on substance abuse to all school divisions. The bill was approved by the Republican governor Glenn Youngkin in April.

Rasoul declared that “this is a problem that has to be addressed.” “For Virginia, it’s a terrific first step.”

According to the American Gaming Association, commercial gaming paid $11.69 billion in direct state and municipal gambling taxes in 2021.

However, state-level programmes for gambling prevention and therapy are fragmented. The National Association of Administrators for Disordered Gaming Services, whose members disburse the monies, reports that the total amount spent by the 40 states in 2016 that made any funding allocations for gambling services was $73 million, or, on average, 37 cents per person.

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