Adolescent Gambling

Gambling can have major physical, mental, and financial consequences for adolescents and their families. It can result in academic difficulties, an increased risk of substance misuse, financial difficulties, problems with family and friends, and even suicide. Furthermore, gaming can lead to criminal activity since those who participate may attempt to get money through illegal means.

Several studies have found that young people who are male, of lower socioeconomic position, and have less parental supervision are more likely to engage in problem gambling behaviour.

What is Adolescent Gambling?

Adolescent gambling is the involvement of persons in their adolescent years in various sorts of gambling activities. Traditional types of gambling, such as casinos, slot machines, and card games, as well as newer ones such as online gambling, sports betting, and mobile gaming, are examples of this. While gambling is normally restricted to individuals of legal age, teenagers may gain access to these activities through a variety of techniques, including the use of forged identification or participation in informal or unregulated gambling activities. It should be noted that underage gambling is prohibited in the majority of jurisdictions and can have serious implications.

Aspects of Adolescent Gambling

Here are some crucial aspects to consider when it comes to adolescent gambling −

  • Risks and Consequences − Adolescent gambling can have a number of harmful consequences. It has the potential to contribute to the development of gambling addiction, which can have serious psychological, financial, and societal effects. It may also result in academic challenges, relationship troubles, and an increased likelihood of indulging in other dangerous behaviours.

  • Vulnerability − Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to developing gambling-related problems because their brains are still developing, they have a proclivity for risk-taking behaviour, and they are susceptible to peer influence. They may find gambling thrilling or attractive, and they may be tempted by the possible riches it offers.

  • Availability and Accessibility − In recent years, the availability of gambling alternatives, both offline and online, has expanded. Adolescents now have easy access to online gaming platforms, which often have minimum age verification mechanisms in place.

  • Warning Signs − Sudden changes in behaviour, secretive behaviour involving money or activities, unexplained financial issues or debts, deteriorating academic performance, withdrawal from social activities, and mood swings are all classic warning indicators of adolescent gambling.

  • Prevention and Intervention − Adolescent gambling can be prevented and addressed through education and awareness programmes. Parents, schools, and communities may all play an important role in informing people about the hazards and repercussions of gambling, supporting responsible money management, and encouraging healthy alternatives to gaming.

  • Treatment and Support − Professional assistance is available for teenagers who acquire gambling-related problems. Cognitive-behavioural therapy, support groups, and therapies focused on addressing the underlying issues that contribute to gambling behaviour are common treatment options.

It's crucial to address adolescent gambling promptly to minimize the potential harm it can cause and to promote healthier behaviours and decision-making skills among young individuals.

Factors Leading To Adolescent Gambling

Individual and environmental variables can both influence adolescent gambling. Here are some of the most prevalent variables that can lead to adolescent gambling −

  • Peer Influence − Adolescents are often impacted by their peers, and if their friends indulge in gambling activities, they may feel pressured to participate as well. Adolescent gambling is more likely in peer groups that promote or normalise gambling behaviour.

  • Family Environment − A young person's attitudes and behaviours are heavily influenced by his or her family environment. Adolescents growing up in families where gambling is prevalent or where parental supervision and advice are lacking may be more prone to gamble themselves.

  • Accessibility − The ease with which gambling options are available can be a factor. Adolescents may be more prone to try gambling if gambling venues or internet platforms are easily accessible.

  • Media and Advertising − Adolescents' perceptions and attitudes towards gambling can be influenced by extensive gambling advertising and media exposure. Glamorised depictions of gambling in films, television shows, and sporting events can instil a false sense of excitement and desirability.

  • Emotional Factors − Adolescents who are experiencing emotional challenges such as stress, worry, sadness, or loneliness may turn to gambling to escape or cope. Gambling's thrill and excitement can give a momentary respite from their emotional troubles.

  • Personal Features − Adolescent gambling may be influenced by certain personal features and traits. Some people are more vulnerable to developing gambling issues because of sensation-seeking behaviour, impulsivity, a desire for rapid satisfaction, and a lack of awareness about the risks involved.

  • Internet and Mobile Technology − With the rise of internet gambling and mobile gaming, adolescents now have easy access to gambling. The anonymity given by online platforms, as well as the opportunity to gamble from the comfort of their own homes or smartphones, can raise the chance of gambling activity.

  • Lack of Awareness − Adolescents may be unaware of the risks involved with gambling. They may overestimate their chances of winning while underestimating their possibilities of losing, prompting them to gamble without fully appreciating the potential consequences.

It's important to address these factors and create a supportive environment that promotes responsible attitudes towards gambling among adolescents.

Compulsive Internet Use

Addiction is the dependency and continual use of something for relaxation, comfort, or excitement, which frequently results in cravings when it is not there. They further claim that, in addition to physical addictions such as drugs or alcohol, there may be behavioural addictions such as cell phone addiction. According to these authors, smartphones make the internet more accessible, and extended usage can raise the chance of hazards associated with mobile phone use, such as melancholy, anxiety, sleeplessness, and aggression, and even harm teenagers' interpersonal skills.

Excessive Internet use has been reported to have a significant negative impact, leading to addiction or pathological Internet use, which involves uncontrollable and damaging Internet use to addiction to specific things and activities on the Internet, such as adult websites containing porn. Some people devote most of their time to dating and talking, gambling, and excessive buying. Although the latter is not unethical, it can have a negative impact on health, waste time, and reduce time spent on physical activities, hobbies, and socialising in the real world.

Methods of Prevention

Preventing adolescent gambling necessitates a multifaceted approach including a variety of stakeholders, including parents, schools, communities, and governments. Here are some preventative measures −

  • Education and Awareness − It is critical to provide accurate and age-appropriate information regarding the hazards and repercussions of gambling. Schools can incorporate gambling prevention education into their curricula, teaching pupils about the odds, probability, and potential harm of gambling.

  • Parental Involvement − Parents are extremely important in reducing adolescent gambling. Open communication, explicit gaming regulations, and monitoring of their children's actions can all help parents limit the possibility of gambling participation. Parents should be conscious of their own gambling habits and provide a good example.

  • Restricting Access − Strict age verification mechanisms in both offline and online gaming businesses can assist prevent minors from participating in gambling activities. Online gambling platforms should implement age restrictions, and parents can use parental control software to limit their children's access to gambling websites.

  • Creating Alternatives − Providing Adolescents with Healthy Alternatives to Gambling: Adolescents can be diverted away from gambling by providing them with healthy alternatives such as sports, arts, community activities, and skill-building programmes.


Moreover, it is critical to identify and treat the factors that contribute to adolescent gambling. Parents, schools, communities, and governments must all collaborate to increase education and awareness, limit access, and provide healthy alternatives. By implementing these strategies, we may assist safeguard teenagers from the harmful repercussions of gambling and foster safe and responsible decision-making.

Updated on: 07-Nov-2023


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