Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Post 33

Youth Gambling: Why the BIG DEAL?

At the Statewide New Jersey Council on Problem Gambling 2012 Annual Conference, in October, keynote speaker Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, highlighted a number of predictions for the next five years.  Listing as a primary concern, Whyte spoke of the growing trend toward State-by-State acceptance of legalized online gambling.  Several States have already accomplished this; and I wonder if Indiana is leaning this way too.

For sure, here in the Hoosier State, changes are coming. This morning, I read that - beginning February 2013 - our Indiana State Lottery will become privatized in management.   No longer will the lottery be mechanized by our State Government.  Undoubtedly, there will be innovations and the public eye will see some noticeable differences. Moreover, Indiana will be only the second State in the Union to place a statewide lottery system under private ownership.

But legalized online gambling here in Indiana?  Not yet … and not quite.  Keith Whyte did describe, however, an online activity that is not actually gambling.  Games are played – for free – but extra virtual equipment can be purchased as supplemental game pieces.  Whyte cited that the amount of revenue from Facebook social games is $5 billion.  Now, that’s a big deal!

Revisiting the California Council on Problem Gambling website [www.calproblemgambling.org/consequences-of-youth-gambling], several facts on gambling by young (and very young, at that) people underscored big-time potential dangers.  Below is information cited within the California Council’s website.

     In Louisiana, adolescents in juvenile detention are roughly four times more likely to have a serious gambling problem than their peers,2 and Delaware and other states have found that adolescent pathological gambling is associated with alcohol and drug use, truancy, low grades, problematic gambling in parents, and illegal activities to finance gambling.
A survey of 8th graders in 2002 found the following troubling connections. Those students that reported gambling were:
  • Over 50% more likely to drink alcohol
  • More than twice as likely to binge drink
  • More than three times as likely to use marijuana
  • Three times as likely to use other illegal drugs
  • Almost three times as likely to get in trouble with the police
  • Three times as likely to be involved in a gang fight
  • Almost three times as likely to steal or shoplift

Given that teens often have strong needs to fit in and be accepted by their peers, it may be difficult for some to resist social opportunities wherein gambling (and yes, underage gambling is illegal) is a common activity.  This month’s GRM Blog includes a listing of ways that will provide replies/responses for young people to give when offered the chance to gamble.
For more information about the dangers of online gambling, go to 
For additional information on problem gambling and teens, visit www.grmumc.org

Rev. Janet Jacobs
Founding Director, Gambling Recovery Ministries


Say NO to Gambling: 8 Ready Comebacks

(Adapted for teens facing gambling opportunities: original source addresses young people and alcohol use:  www.asklistenlearn.com)

Below are instant comebacks to say when invited/pressured to gamble.  Tailor-make your own statements in the spaces provided.

1. I’m not a follower. I’m a leader — and I’m saying NO.

2. That’s not my style.

3. No way. That’s not for me.

4. I’m not a gambler. I’m a thinker

5. Sorry, but gambling is not good for my brain.

7. I’m way too cool for that stuff.

8. Write your own reason here: ______________________

    Be creative: use all or parts of the above responses.  
    Most of all: be comfortable with your own comebacks!!