Gambling Among Teens and College Students

Internet Gambling Addiction

Why Do People Gamble?

Gambling Among Teens and College Students

Laws Regarding Online Gambling

Mental Health Issues and Treatment


































college kidsOnline gambling is becoming a more of a problem than most people realize. Adolescents and college students are more likely to turn to gambling online because they are more comfortable and can generally work on the computer and internet better than the older generation. Most teenagers are more likely to gamble online by Sports betting, poker, casino games and lotteries. Unlike traditional gambling, it is a lot harder to enforce the no gabling under 18 laws. Although, online gambling is illegal a lot of gambling websites have found ropes around the laws to have their website stated in out countries outside the United States ("In the basement," 2009). Some teens start out as playing gambling games online without having to pay for their losses ("In the basement," 2009). This triggers an addiction and teens that start out by playing with no real money, then get addicted to the real deal ("In the basement," 2009).

It seems to be the “norm” for college students to gamble of some sort. A game of Texas Hold ‘Em in the dorm room is a social event opposed to online gambling is more of a private event. To gamble online it only takes a credit or debit card and an internet connection. All college students have access to the internet whether it is off campus or on campus, and most have access to a credit or debit card. It is also a lot easier for a minor to gamble online as well. A study showed that out of 37 online gambling sites a minor was able to register and play 30 of them (Martindale, 2009). Many online gambling sites are triggered towards college students by advertising on social networking sites like Facebook, and some even offer signup bonus to students (Martindale, 2009). One very popular online gambling site even advertises wining tuition money (Martindale, 2009). Online gambling seems to be growing and becoming more of a serious problem among adolescents and college students. In 2002 it was reported that there were 5.5 billion dollars in earnings from online gambling alone (Martindale, 2009).

There are several reasons why adolescents or college students start to gamble online and in some cases become addicted to online gambling: someone in the family gambles, problems at home, low self esteem, peer pressure, loneliness/boredom, pain and stress, competition, to win money or to gain attention from peers. Adolescent are more vulnerable and do not have the kind of control adults have (Donaldson-Evans, 2006).

Teenagers that have a gambling addiction are more likely to have depression, drug and alcohol abuse, loss of friendship and jobs, lying, cheating, steeling, eating disorder, criminal arrest, big legal and money problems along with a higher rate of suicide. When a teen becomes addicted to online gambling he or she will start spending more time online and less time on schoolwork and relationships with family and friends (Martindale, 2009). In one extreme case at the University of Wisconsin murdered three roommates because he owed them thousands in gambling debts (Martindale, 2009). This student lost $15,000 in gambling and withdrew $72,000 from his bank before he committed the murder (Martindale, 2009).


It is illegal for adolescents to gamble, and online gambling is illegal altogether. However, that does not seem to stop a lot of them from gambling online. Although casinos do not let anyone under the age 18 gamble, online it is a lot easier to find a place to place a bet Gambling is becoming more of an issue amongst teens and the internet is making it easier for adolescents to gain accesses to online gambling ("In the basement," 2009). In October of 2001 anti-Internet gambling provisions were included in the Financial Anti-Terrorism Act. This act bans ban Internet gambling sites from accessing U.S. financial service systems to prevent the flow of money to and from terrorist organizations (Martindale, 2009). Therefore, all existing gambling sites are outside the U.S. Since all these online gambling sites are “off-shore” no one is really aware of how big online gambling is becoming (Martindale, 2009).

A Gambling problem will not just go away by itself; it will only get worse as time goes on. Many schools are beginning to realize the problems of gambling among college students. These colleges are educating students about the problems of gambling and some providing treatment for their students. Some colleges are even blocking online gambling sites from campus computers. In addition, Visa is helping by not allowing users to place bets online with their credit cards (Martindale, 2009). Parents should keep close watch as to what their teen is doing online. If the parents see any symptoms that may be linked to online gambling they should talk to the teen and seek help immediately. It will be easier to treat the gambling addiction sooner rather than later. While parents still have a tremendous impact on their teen’s life parents can help guide their children as soon as the gambling problem starts. It is very important to educate families about the problems of gambling similar to how we educated them about drugs and alcohol (Donaldson-Evans, 2006). It is much harder to treat gambling addiction in adults than at the beginning of the problem in the teenage years.