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One out of ten teenagers gambles online

Internet is full of useful information, opportunities and entertainment. Although it provides us with countless possibilities to learn and to succeed in our respective fields, entertainment is arguably the most common use for the World Wide Web. Now a new study from the University of Waterloo revealed that more Canadian teenagers are gambling online than previously thought.

Gambling is addictive and can lead to quitting school, hobbies or even stealing. Image credit: Jamie Adams via Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA-2.0

Gambling is addictive and can lead to quitting school, hobbies or even stealing. Image credit: Jamie Adams via Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA-2.0

In fact, the number is three times bigger than it was previously estimated. Previously it was assumed that around 3% of state’s teenagers have gambled at least once in the past three months, but the new data suggests that the real number is 10% or an estimated 58,000 teenagers. Study also showed that males are four times as likely to gamble and teenagers, who spend their time gambling online, are more willing to take part in land-based gambling like instant-win tickets, slot machines and card games.

Co-leader of the study, Scott Leatherdale, said: “As the availability of government-sponsored online gaming opportunities expand and become more actively promoted, we expect the prevalence of Internet gambling among teenagers to continue to grow. The more engaged adolescents are in gambling, the more likely they are to face problematic behaviour down the road”.

Some teenagers are already facing consequences of their gambling habit – some dropped out of team sports and some even had to resort to stealing in order to pay their gambling debts. Therefore, it is important that countries place certain regulations on internet gambling, but even in Canada legislation on this matter varies. Recently Ontario launched its own legalized online gambling platform, which should provide officials with better control on the gambling market. However, scientists are yet to evaluate which of many strategies is the most successful.

Although this research is about Canada specifically, virtually all developed countries are facing a problem of teenagers gambling online. This means that policy makers have to introduce certain laws in order to control this growing market. Study also shows that gambling for teenagers is harmful, which means that internet gambling platforms should not appeal to them and should not be easily accessible for underage population.

Source: uwaterloo.ca