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Problem gambling in teens

The earlier people start gambling, the more likely they are to develop a gambling problem. And for underage teens, gambling is illegal.

Common types of gambling among teens

Gambling is any act that involves the risking of money or valuables on the outcome of a game, contest or any other event. This can include:

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Games of skill (like beating each other in pool, hoops, etc.)

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Sports game bets among friends or family

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Raffle tickets

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Board games

Why do some teens get into gambling?

  • Someone in the family gambles
  • Loneliness and/or boredom
  • Problems at home
  • Avoidance of pain or stress
  • Low self esteem
  • Competition
  • Peer pressure
  • To win money
  • The action of the game
  • To gain attention from peers
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Why Gambling Can Turn Into a Bad Bet

Ask anyone in treatment—gambling is as addictive as alcohol or drugs. Teens with a gambling problem may experience or be at risk for:

  • School and family problems
  • Lost friendships and jobs
  • Serious legal and money issues
  • A much higher rate of suicide
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Signs of problem gambling

Teens who frequently participate in gambling activities, such as cards, dice, games, sports or online sites, may exhibit the following signs of a gambling problem:

  • Gambling has become the favorite (or only) activity
  • Borrowing or stealing money to gamble
  • Thinking they can beat the odds
  • Making more bets thinking that money that was lost can be won
  • Missing important events or sneaking out of them to gamble
  • Feeling the need to bet more
  • Arguing with or lying to friends or family about gambling
  • Thinking that most problems would be solved with a big win

Now What?

The first step to recovery is recognizing that a gambling
problem exists. The second is seeking help.