Teenagers are two-three more likely than adults to develop a gambling problem. Gambling is not a bad habit, or a form of recreation; it’s an addiction that can ruin one’s life. Children are more likely to use gambling as an escape from things like unstable family life, lack of role models, and low self esteem. Children with at least one parent that gambles are more likely to gamble. Talk with your children about the dangers of a gambling addiction. Teenagers will place bets on anything they can. This includes a game of pool, slot machines, video games, or sports games. The “get rich quick” ideology is enticing to a lot of young people. It’s even easier today because one can place bets online. When someone wins, there is a sense of adrenaline and rush that they will keep trying to experience.
The negative impacts of gambling include poor mental and physical health, increased rates of unemployment and alcohol/drug abuse, fraud, family problems and more. If you believe your child or loved one is struggling with gambling addiction, there is help available. Let them know they are not alone in their recovery.
PA Hotline: 1-800-848-1880
Regional hotline: 1-800-GAMBLER
National Resources: 1-800-522-4700