Youth and Gambling

Brain development plays a large role in what makes young people at a higher risk for having problems with gambling – just like it does with drugs and alcohol. Because teenage brains are more vulnerable to addiction and are more susceptible to stress than adult brains, we see more teens that have a hard time with gambling which often ties into other risky behaviors.

Amongst young people ages 14-21, approximately 2.1 percent struggle with disordered gambling and another 6.5 percent are problem gamblers. The earlier young people are introduced to gambling, the more likely they are to become problem gamblers as adults. Children introduced to gambling by age 12 are 4x more likely to devlep a gambling problem.

The sheer amount of gambling behaviors that young people are exposed to every day is alarming. Gambling opportunities for young people may take the form of dice or card games, scratching lottery tickets received as gifts, betting on sports (fantasy or actual outcomes), and even exist in many phone apps or video games in the form of getting rewards like coins and jewels – and chances to win/earn upgrades like skins and other accessories. Technological advances through the increased accessibility of online and digital technologies continuously present new gambling opportunities for youth.

Check out for tools to combat underage gambling for parents, educators and youth.