Statistics suggest the majority of adolescents who
gamble are male and the vast majority of them bet on sports or
participate in online casino sites.
And what is the hottest game drawing teens to virtual tables these days?
The popularity of televised events such as The World Poker Tour and
Celebrity Poker Showdown have created a Texas Hold ‘Em craze which is
spilling out of legal venues and into basements and backrooms across the
"Online casinos represent a gray area of legalized gambling. It is
difficult to regulate those who use the sites," said Breene.
"The problem," said Breene, "is that people start getting together in
their homes and organizing their own poker tournaments. Most parents
don’t think anything of buying the kids a couple of pizzas and letting
them play cards in the basement."
Parents think it’s "safer" to have their kids and their kids’ friends at
home under adult supervision, but Breene warns those innocent games can
lead to problems.
"Not every young person thinks of playing cards as a game. When they
start playing with a $10 or $20 buy-in, that’s when problems can start."
One of the problems, though, is that teens often fail to recognize they
have a problem.
"Very few teens seek treatment for gambling addiction," said Breene.
"They often gamble in secret and their parents don’t realize what
they’re doing until it reaches a crisis situation and that’s when they
come to us."
An easier and perhaps more accessible option available to meet young
people’s dreams of trying their luck and getting rich quick is right
behind the counter of nearly every gas station and convenience store
counter: scratch tickets.