Juvenile gambling in North America: an analysis of long term trends and future prospects

Abstract

Long term trends, based on findings from twenty independent prevalence studies surveying middle and high school youth in North America, suggest that within the past year two out of three legally underage youth have gambled for money. In the United States and Canada as many as 15.3 million 12–17 year olds have been gambling with or without adult awareness or approval, and 2.2 million of these are experiencing serious gambling-related problems. Lottery play dominates legalized forms of gambling among juveniles in both the United States and Canada. Trends between 1984–1999 indicate a substantial increase in the proportion of juveniles who report gambling within the past year, and a parallel increase in the proportion of juveniles reporting serious gambling-related problems. Yet, there continues to be little public awareness or concern about the extent, or the potential hazards associated with juvenile gambling. A composite profile of juveniles reporting numerous gambling problems is contrasted with their peers who reported few or none. Future prospects concerning this growing problem are offered.

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