Teen gambling

Kayla Borchert, Writer

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In the United States gambling is one of the highlights of being an adult. At the age of 18, most parents take their children to a casino as a right of passage to becoming an adult. Or at least allow their child to go with friends. Gambling is a way to make bets in hopes of making more money, which is usually done in a casino. Gambling can also be done in the form of scratch off tickets, lottery tickets or online. Fantasy Football is considered to be gambling by some, but it is not because it is a game of skill which is why it is legal according to federal law. Money made by playing Fantasy Football is based on a person’s knowledge, not by random chance of the draw. But playing these types of games can be addictive and cause trouble by people with no impulse control that waste their money without knowledge of what they are doing.

Online gambling is one of the easiest forms of gambling to acquire because it is easily accessible to the public because all it takes is a download. The reason why online gambling exists is because there is a lack of laws against it, at least on a federal level. It is possible to be persecuted in states with laws about online gambling but the prosecution in those states are still rare.

The National Council of Problem Gambling claims that “About 15% of Americans gamble at least once a week, and 40% of people with gambling issues start gambling before the age of 17.” People with gambling addiction tend to gamble until they are out of money. There are some common misconceptions made about people with gambling addiction. Some people say that gambling addiction happens to only weak willed people. However, that is not true, as strong willed people may also develop a problem. Gamblers tend to gamble for the excitement, to be more social, avoid thinking about problems, relieve boredom or loneliness, relax or to solve money issues. Partners of people with a gambling addiction often get blamed for driving a gambler to gamble, but some addicts blame others for their problems. Having an addiction can also lead to the gambler not caring about their body so they lack personal hygiene and will go without eating because they are too busy gambling to eat or do not have the money.

A gambling addiction can also be referred to as ‘the hidden illness’ because there are no physical signs. People often feel the need to be secretive about gambling, have trouble controlling when to walk away and gamble even when out of money. The biggest step to overcoming addiction is to realize there is a problem in the first place.  Also, look for mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety and take steps towards dealing with mood disorders. Gamblers need to learn to deal with emotions in a healthy manner. Strengthen communication by reaching out to others such as family, friends or coworkers or join a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous extra help.

Addictions are hard to break, especially gambling, because it is easily accessible due to the internet, but the best way to stop is to be around people that will hold a gambler accountable. Steer clear from tempting environments and websites. Give up control of personal finances for the time being. Find a new hobby or experiment with healthy habits. Students dealing with gambling problems should take up new hobbies, hang out with friends and avoid situations where gambling is involved, such as Fantasy leagues and online gambling such as poker and slots. Be responsible when it comes to gambling, know when to stop when it has gone too far.