Frequently Asked Questions – Teens

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Why do people develop gambling problems?
People gamble for many different reasons. Those who do not have a gambling problem may play for enjoyment, spending only money they can afford and which they planned to use for entertainment.

Others – people who have a gambling problem – often gamble to escape their problems, to feel better, or to feel more important. They often believe that they can win their money back by developing strategies to control the outcomes, and choose to believe or are unable to accept that gambling favors the house.*

Is a gambling addiction as serious as a drug addiction?
In a word: YES. An individual with a gambling problem often becomes preoccupied with gambling, and might have an uncontrollable urge to gamble that makes him or her do things they normally wouldn’t. People who are addicted feel that their actions will help them forget their problems – whether those actions involve gambling, smoking, drinking or taking drugs – despite the fact that these addictions only add to their problems.

Why do we try to restrict the access and participation of gambling activities to underage youth?
Younger people are more likely to develop a gambling problem, and adults have a responsibility to protect them from and teach them about the risks and consequences associated with doing it in excess.

How come boys are more likely to develop a gambling problem?
Although we don’t know why, some researchers have theorized that the competitive nature of gambling presents a stronger attraction to boys than girls. Boys are also usually more impulsive, more likely to take risks and tend to gamble on games which are more likely to lead to addiction (such as sports betting or poker).

What should I do if my friends ask me to join them in gambling?
Before you make your decision, be aware of the risks of gambling. If you decide to play, be sure to play responsibly* by placing limits on the amount of time you will play, and the amount of money you are willing to gamble. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, and don’t make the mistake of trying to win back losses by betting more money.1

*For more information, see the Gamble Responsibly site.

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