Dangers of young people gaming for money

More fuel for the anti gambling lobby in Australia, as a report conducted by the university in Adelaide seems to indicate that young people who enjoy video gaming may be more likely to turn to online gambling for real money in the future.

It is common knowledge that in the age of instant access to the internet via tablets, computers and phones that it has never been easier to play online games.  Many young people do spend an inordinate amount of time playing games.  Of those 13 to 17 year olds taking part in the study it was estimated that up to 25% of them had enjoyed gambling type video games.  One in ten are said to have used social media sites, such as Facebook, to play games, whilst one in twenty had used their mobile phones.  Worryingly, a small number had attempted to gamble with real money on the internet, in spite of strict regulations being in place to prevent young people under 18 from using real money sites.

There is undoubtedly an association between gaming and gambling for money, and the study suggested that young people using gaming sites may be 3 times more likely to go on to gamble for money, probably on the internet.

As things stand at the moment, free gaming sites are not realistic in terms of how easy it is to lose money.  Perhaps if it were made more apparent that if the user had been playing for real money they might have lost a great deal of money.  Young people certainly need to be aware of the perils of gambling that gets out of hand.

There is plenty of scare mongering around as far as the dangers of gambling as concerned, and we really don’t want to encourage young people to get into online gambling before they are mature enough to deal with the dangers, but statistically most people who gamble do so responsibly and do so for fun.  Some make it their profession, but these people gamble often but cautiously, after all it is their ‘job’.

The gamblers who get into trouble often have an obsessive personality, and would have got into trouble regardless of whether it was possible to gamble online or not.  After all most problem gamblers are associated with pokie machines, and not the internet.  Pokies have been around a lot longer than the internet, and there is no definitive study pointing to a general increase in problem gamblers since the advent of the internet.

Australia continues to struggle with how best to regulate the industry, while many other countries have forged ahead with good legislation, that has led to an increase in tax revenue, but not to an increase in addictive gamblers.

John