Indiana University Bloomington
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IPGAP: Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program


The act of risking money, property or something of value on an activity with an uncertain outcome.

So far, in your lifetime, gambling has always been legal – for adults. Gambling has become a normal part of life, socially acceptable in society. For many types of gambling part of the money raised goes to support charity and schools. Many people can gamble responsibly and not develop for problems. For some people, gambling can develop into a problem. For young people, problem gambling can lead to many problems including:

• Other addictions
• Criminal activity
• Poor grades
• Financial problems
• Worry for your family and friends

Statistics show that 8% of adolescents, 12 to 17 years old, can be considered problem gamblers. Further, approximately 15% of youths were considered to be at risk of developing problems with gambling.

In 2009 45% of 12th grade students reported some form of gambling. Playing cards for money is the most popular form of gambling among young people in Indiana. Betting on one’s personal skill, such as shooting pool or bowling, is the next most common form of gambling among young people.

Online gambling is a popular type of gambling among young adults and full of unknowns. Over $15 billion spent worldwide in 2006. From poker sites to sports betting sites and more, gambling online is easy to find and with current technology, can be accessed just about anywhere.

  • On average, problem gamblers say they began gambling at about 10 years of age
  • Studies of young people over the last 10 years report that about 8% of adolescents, 12 to 17 years old, can be considered problem gamblers. Further, approximately 15% of youths were considered to be at risk of developing problems with gambling
  • The prevalence of adolescent problem gamblers is reported to be from 2 to 4 times higher than that of adult problem gamblers
Adolescent Problem Gamblers
  • For adolescent problem gamblers, money is often not the driving factor.
  • Negatively affects overall school performance and work activities
  • Causes the disruption of relationships
  • Most underage teens are introduced to gambling by a parent or adults close to them (CT Partnership for Responsible Gambling)
Adolescent problem gamblers commonly have
  • Poor coping skills
  • Lower self esteem
  • Higher rates of depression
  • Problems maintaining friendships and relationships
  • Greater risk taking tendencies
  1. If you bet on a video game with your friends is this gambling?
    Yes it is. Gambling is defined as "the act of risking money or something else of value on an activity with an uncertain outcome."
    Buying lottery tickets or playing a slot machine in a casino is the same as playing cards or video games for money.
  2. What is problem gambling?
    A problem gambler is someone whose gambling behavior has a bad effect on their life or the lives of people close to them - parents, brothers, sisters, and your friends.
    If your gambling is causing you to fall behind in your schoolwork, have arguments with family or friends, or worry about money you have lost, it is considered to be "problem gambling" and you're a "problem gambler".
  3. Are there signs or symptoms of problem gambling?
    Yes, there are common signs and symptoms that most adolescent problem gamblers exhibit. Here are a few:
    • Do you think gambling is the most exciting activity you do?
    • Do you often spend your free time involved in gambling activities?
    • Do you try to prevent your family and friends from knowing how much you gamble?
    • Do your friends gamble? Are you considered part of the "gambling crowd?"
    • Do you often daydream about gambling?
    • Do you often gamble during lunch breaks, recess, after school hours, or on weekends?
    • Do you miss school or other important events due to gambling activities?
    • Do you often dream of solving your problems by making a big win?
    • Do you ever lie about whether you gamble or how much you lose?
    • Is gambling the main source of what you do to feel good about yourself?
    • Do you gamble alone?
    • Do you gamble with money that is supposed to be used for other reasons like lunch, bus fare, or clothes?
    • Have you ever borrowed money to gamble?
    • Have you ever stolen money or property in order to gamble or pay gambling debts?
    • Do you get upset or irritable if you are unable to gamble?
    • Do you most want to gamble when you are upset?
    • Do you often feel sad or guilty because you lost money gambling?
    • Is it hard for you to stop gambling after you lose money?
    • Do you often gamble longer than you wanted to and lose more money than you intended?
    • When gambling, do you tend to lose track of time or forget about everything else?
    • Do you find that thinking about gambling makes it hard for you to do school work?
  4. Is gambling addiction as serious as drug addiction?
    Yes. People who are addicted believe that what they do helps them forget their problems. They see gambling and drugs as a solution to their problems when in fact the addiction is in itself a big problem.
  5. Why do young people gamble?
    It's not for the money. in fact, most adolescents with gambling problems report that the main reasons they gamble is for the action, the excitement and enjoyment, the "high", derived from these activities.
  6. What if my friends ask me to gamble?
    Make the decision not to gamble for yourself and know your reasons why you don't want to gamble. Once you know that, assert yourself and express your reasons to gamble such as you are saving your money for something, or that you don’t need to gamble to have fun playing the game or hanging out .
  7. What do I do if I think someone I know has a gambling problem?
    If you or someone you know is concerned about their gambling behavior, there is help available call or talk to your parents, teachers, school guidance counselor, or an addictions counselor.