Gambling is so addictive that it creates problems, and various studies have shown young gamblers aged between 13 and 20 have exhibited criminal behaviors. Although in the Philippines, the legal age is 18, there are reasons why adolescents engage in such activities, thus becoming society’s problem. We will discuss this in this OKBET blog post.
There are more young gamblers than adults.
Due to the development of new forms of gambling (online casinos), the internet has been plagued by platforms unregulated by the government. Teens can easily access these sites and, as a result, have been introduced to the world of betting. While it is recreational to those with money, young gamblers who are not yet part of the working force will have to find other means to continue their bad habit.
It is also important to note that families also play a significant role in the child’s upbringing. Parents who frequent casinos and take up betting as a hobby can instill it in their children. Peers can also influence them to take up the game of chance, even if it is just “for fun.”
A 2020 study argued that a child’s teenage years are more vulnerable to criminal behavior if not guided by their family. A survey even showed that although the game of chance is age-restricted, teens still engage in such an activity.
“Despite the fact that in many countries gambling is forbidden to minors, in recent years, there has been a marked increase in this behavior among younger people so that from surveys conducted in different cultural contexts, it emerges that a percentage between 60 and 99% of boys and between 12 and 20 years have gambled at least once,” said clinical psychologist Katie Splevins in her 2019 study.
Teenagers prefer social games like cards and sports betting. However, there is a small percentage of the youth involved in illegal age gambling activities. Mostly, those involved were entertained by unregulated gambling operators with no age restrictions in betting.
Gambling is already inherent in adolescence.
Splevins argued the game of chance is already buried deep in the subconscious of adolescents. However, it needs further analysis, she said.
“In fact, the lowering of the age of onset of problematic behaviors related to pathological gambling raises a question about the presence of gambling in preadolescents, as more [exposure] to the use of the Internet, smartphones, and tablets as tools that could encourage this type of conduct.
“A series of studies have highlighted how adult pathological players started playing significantly earlier from a non-pathological player’s chronological point of view.”
Young gamblers have the potential but are… justified?
A 2020 study by Gemma Mestre-Bach et al. discovered that teenagers involved in gambling at a young age were prone to committing criminal activities. Although not grave offenses, the acts committed by them were concerning enough.
Mestre-Bach found out that adolescents with gambling problems commit crimes that are “income-producing” or “property-related.” They commit fraud, forgery, robbery, and theft to sustain their gambling habit.
Researchers argued that it is sort of a “band-aid solution” to their financial problems.
But while their actions are criminal offenses, Mestre-Bach did not agree. She justified the behaviors as a reflection of their “desperation” to reacquire their losses due to gambling.
A criminal theory by Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay suggests that these are the reasons:
- Social network is not supportive enough.
- Pro-criminal values have been acquired before they reach adolescence.
- In a society or community where the game of chance is not frowned upon.
What can parents do?
It is the responsibility of the parents to sit them down and talk about the dangers of gambling addiction.
Parents must fully explain the consequences of the game of chance. This includes financial problems, relationship problems, and more to prevent children from becoming potential young gamblers.
To ensure that a child will not explore the Internet and discover online gambling, Alberta listed down the things parents must do:
- Change passwords on applications regularly.
- Manage pop-ups, or better, disable them.
- Internet access should be limited, and web access should be under the supervision of an adult.