According to the American Psychiatric Association, 10–15% of young people asked have significant gambling problems; 6% of the teens who have tried gambling have become pathological gamblers.
Reasons Adolescents May Gamble
- Escape problems
- Loneliness, depression or boredom
- Peer pressure
- Think it is a quick way to get rich
- To impress others
- To be the center of attention
- Think of it as a way to make friends
- Winning provides an instant, temporary boost of confidence
Possible Adolescent Indicators
- Unexplained absences from school
- Sudden drop in grades
- Changes in personality (irritability, impatience, criticism, or sarcasm)
- Large amounts of money in their possession; bragging about gambling wins
- Shows an unusual interest in newspapers, magazine or periodicals having to do with sports, horse racing, etc.
- Intense interest in gambling conversations
- Exaggerated display of money or other material possessions (car, clothes, jewelry)
- Change in behavior (behavior problems, tardiness or absences at school)
- Gambling language in their conversation (5-timer, bookie, loan shark, point spread, underdog, favorite, etc.)
- Exaggerated use of the word “bet” in their vocabulary
- Illegal acts to pay or gamble more, including: stealing or shoplifting, selling drugs or bookmaking, embezzling or employer theft, family theft
If you are concerned about a teen or a young adult experiencing problems related to gambling, call our helpline at 800-848-1880, or 1-800-GAMBLER®, for more information and resources.