Youth Gambling

Responsible Service of GamblingGambling is now as easily accessible as ‘a click of a button,’ but do you really know who is playing?  The legal age to be able to participate in any gambling activity, whether it is within a casino or online, is 18 years of age. However, underage gambling has spiked due to the increase of availability of gambling online and the sheer ease to access it.

Similar to the use of cigarettes and/or alcohol, a study showed that teenagers consider gambling behaviour need not to be hidden from their family, which suggests that the normalisation of gambling within some families. This behaviour is alarming as gambling similar to any addictive substance can have side effects, no matter what the age of the participant, however youth are more susceptible.

A large Victorian study, in relation to gambling, recently reported that over 41% of year 8 students had partake in a form of gambling, with most stating that it was “okay” to gamble. This study also illustrated that the majority of youth hold an overly optimistic view that they will win, with the fun and thrill being the main reasons for them to participate in gambling activities. However, the study also showed that there was a correlation between underage gambling and anti-social behaviour. 

Underage gamblers are more likely:

  • Be at risk of takers within the gambling environment

  • Often show signs of low self-esteem

  • Higher rates of depression 

  • Develop gambling and other addictions

  • Seem to find it difficult to adapt to certain situations, socially

  • Less self-discipline

  • High levels of anxiety

Online gambling has meant that youth are able to easily gamble without age limits. This is as majority of online gambling sites require you to provide a date of birth before entering, however, there is nothing stopping a youth from creating an age that is 18 years or older to be able to play. Also, the normality that families and teens have towards gambling means that there is no deterrent. Gambling is an addictive activity which has considerable consequences, it is not an activity that should be taken lightly or considered normal. Underage gambling is an issue within Australia due to the accessibility of online gambling. Underage gamblers need to be made aware of the consequences and impact that gambling could have on their lives.