Youth Problem Gambling

According to 2019 Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) data:

  • Overall, 34.3% of students in Bucks County engaged in gambling for money or anything of value in their lifetime (compared to 33.7% at the state level).
  • While there was a decrease in 2019 from 2017 related to lifetime and 30-day gambling, there was an all-grade increase in 2019 for online internet gambling (except 8th graders).
  • The most frequently reported form of gambling was “lottery [scratch cards, numbers, etc.]” reported by 18.2% of students who had gambled in the past 12 months (compared to 20.2% at the state level). 

Did you know that children introduced to gambling by age 12 are four times more likely to develop a gambling problem? It’s important to make time to talk with kids about gambling.

Here are a few discussion points:

  • Explain that gambling results in losses more often than wins. Spending money on things they want is better than losing it all on a bet.
  • Explain that underage gambling is illegal.
  • Talk to them about the consequences of problem gambling, including being sad, having no money to spend, lower grades, and damaged friendships.
  • Encourage healthy spending. Talk about how they plan to spend money they have from their after-school or summer job, as well as allowance.
  • Ask questions about their experiences with gambling - and listen to their answers. 

Warning Signs of Youth Gambling

  • Students miss classes or entire school days with no explanation.
  • Grades suddenly drop or assignments aren’t being completed.
  • Disinterest towards extracurricular activities.
  • Behavior becomes more secretive, defensive or aggressive.
  • There’s an increased interest in money and value of possessions.
  • They speak openly about an interest in gambling or borrowing money.

(Change the Game Ohio)