Teenage Gambling


Gambling is a serious addiction that afflicts more than 10 million Americans every year. Nowadays, people are exposed to gambling from TV, movies, the internet, and apps. These devices make gambling seem like an innocent way to pass the time. However, gambling is a slippery slope. 

Most gambling applications attract their audience by playing on ‘practice mode’. These practice modes allow people to try out gambling without any consequences and then they are more likely to download the app and play it frequently (meanwhile thinking that there aren’t any consequences). 

The number of people who suffer from gambling addiction is growing increasingly over the past few years. Many people don’t realize the severe consequences that come with gambling. 

Teenagers  are especially susceptible to this problem. During Chanukah, many teenagers and even college students play a spirited game of playing with dreidels and betting real money. This often starts with a harmless game that ends up in a serious addiction. In fact, 1 in every 20 students is considered a compulsive gambler. 

Negative Implications 

  • Economic problems – people who are addicted to gambling often suffer great financial losses due to their addiction. 
  • Relationship problems – Often people get so addicted to gambling that it starts to affect their relationships. People who are suffering from addiction often spend most of their free time gambling rather than spending time with their family and loved ones. 
  • Guilty feeling – Most people feel a great sense of guilt after betting a large amount of money and losing it. 
  • Anger – people often feel angrier and more irritable. 
  • Emotional stress – Many people invest a lot in gambling and winning a prize. When they lose a gamble, they can suffer from a lot of emotional stress and anxiety. 

Early warning signs 

It is very important to notice the early warning signs, especially with young adults and students. Some warning signs are:

  • Having a hard time in school or at home
  • Feeling irritable or stressed. 

If someone suffers from anxiety or depression they are more likely to want to distract themselves by using social media apps, including gambling games. These games give them a short-term sense of accomplishment and make them feel better (even if they win a small prize)

How to prevent Teenagers from gambling 

  1. Education – many problems in society can be reduced with the proper education and awareness towards the problem (for example alcohol abuse and safe sex). If we educate the young generation on the negative effects gambling can have on one’s life then they will be less likely to take part in it. 
  2.  Compare chances of winning – if it is clear to someone that they are more likely to get struck by lightning (1 in 300,000) than win the lottery (1 in 15 million), they might think twice about gambling. 
  3. Encourage more extracurricular activities for teenagers – When parents give their kids too much free time, they might start doing things that they shouldn’t. Extracurricular activities are a great way to fill in free time. Encouraging them to paint, exercise, swim, dance, play an instrument, or even cook can help them to become more well-rounded people and stay away from bad behaviors.  

We aren’t saying that playing with a Dreidel on Chanukah will lead to a serious gambling addiction, however, it is a dangerous slippery slope. So, when playing a friendly game on Chanuka, try to play with chocolates or candies and not on money and valuable things. 

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