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Harming America’s Kids

For more information about how predatory gambling interests in partnership with government are exploiting America's youth, you can also visit our Blog section titled Exploiting America's Kids.

Gambling Addiction is Fastest Growing Addiction for Teens in 2012

Serious Gambling-Related Problems Have Emerged as an Epidemic Among America’s Youth

This report highlights how serious gambling-related problems have emerged as an epidemic among America's youth. Today, at least one out of every five young people has a serious gambling-related problem, up from one out of every ten in 1988. The prevalence rate of gambling among the young is now 80%, almost double the rate (45%) it was in 1988. A summary of the report can be found below. It was done by Durand F. Jacobs, Ph.D., ABPP Clinical Professor of Medicine (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences), Loma Linda University Medical School, California. Juvenile Gambling in North America

The Government Program of Predatory Gambling is Severely Impacting Children

New York State government recently released a stunning report showing 10% of adolescents in the state currently have a gambling problem and an additional 10% currently are at risk for developing a gambling problem. That means over 300,000 adolescents in New York State either have or are at risk of having a serious gambling problem. New York State 2007 study

On the Road to Problem Gambling: National Survey Shows Casinos, Slots and Lotteries Attract Youth Into an Addictive Habit

The 2003 Annenberg National Risk Survey of Youth revealed how severe the problem of gambling has become among America's youth and the situation has only worsened since. Within the 2003 report were several major findings including more young men ages 14 to 17 have tried gambling than cigarette smoking or drinking alcohol and almost nine in ten youth (88%) who gambled weekly in both private and public venues reported one or more problems with their gambling. Although it was not possible to make precise projections of future gambling pathology from these symptoms, the report said, they were indicative of greater risk for gambling problems among youth who gamble regularly. Annenberg Youth Study 2003

One-Fifth of Parents Reported Buying a Lottery Ticket for Their Children

This study by the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems at McGill University finds "approximately one-fifth of parents reported buying a lottery ticket for their children" in Canada. Your Mother Should Know - McGill University Study

Casinos Lower Gambling Age to Attract Teenagers

The article below is an example about how casinos are lowering the gambling age for its visitors from 21 to 19 to capture even more profits. Michigan Tribe Approves Lower Gambling Age

Expansion of Casinos Increases the Risk of Children Becoming Addicted Gamblers Later On in Life

This study commissioned by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation shows a link between a parent’s gambling activity and their child’s attitude toward and participation in gambling. “Youth who report that their parents have gambled in the past year have a significantly higher participation in various gambling activities than youth who report that their parents have not gambled in the past 12 months,” the paper stated. An addictions psychiatrist Shao-Hua Lu says the expansion of casinos increases the risk of children becoming gamblers later on in life. According to Lu, the likelihood of a person developing a gambling problem as an adult is directly related to their parents’ gambling habits. “It’s no different from how increasing smoking exposure increases subsequent likelihood of smoking addiction.” Decoding British Columbian Youth and Gambling

Predatory Gambling Negatively Affects Families

A 2010 article from the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada details the evidence linking gambling addiction to negative socio-economic consequences for Canadian families as the government attempts to "chase after increasing revenue." Government Gambling and Broken Families: How Problem Gambling Affects Families

Pennsylvania Casino Profiting from Underage Gamblers

Pennsylvania's Rivers Casino was fined $150,000 in July 2011, partly due to incidents related to underage gambling occurring on the premises. Amazingly, the lawyer representing Rivers urged the state's Gaming Control Board to "consider stronger penalties for the teenagers who try to illegally enter casinos, rather than only boosting fines for the gaming establishments." Rivers Casino Fined For Underage Gambling

Bad Odds for Youth Gamblers

A recent Johns Hopkins study found that gambling was considered to be normal behavior among a survey of adolescents, particularly among males. Even more troubling was that 12 percent of the participants had behavior considered to be "problem gambling" - much higher than the 1 to 3 percent that is normally attributed to U.S. adult populations. Bad Odds for Youth Gamblers

Predatory Gambling Operators Profiting Off of High School Football

In October 2011, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that a group of gambling websites in Costa Rica offers betting odds on high school football games in the state of Pennsylvania. The newspaper reports that the town of Shaler's athletic director Paul Holzshu had "disgust" for websites and bookies that offer betting opportunities on games teenagers play. "It sounds to me like we are at the mercy of people who don't give a damn about the educational quality of what we're doing," Holzshu said. "They're just trying to make a buck off kids who are innocent. People are exploiting kids by betting on games." High School Football Betting Rankles Pennsylvania Athletic Officials

Casino giant IGT launches popular slot machine on Facebook

In an effort to encourage more young people to lose money gambling on the Internet, International Gaming Technology has launched its Da Vinci Diamonds slot machine, which can be found in casinos across the country, as a Facebook game, as if it were Farmville or Words With Friends. 2012 Casino giant IGT goes social, launches Vegas slot machine favorite on Facebook

Children as young as 10 are battling serious gambling problems, a major study has revealed

While the United States continues to ignore its public health problem of gambling addiction, the first national study of the gambling habits of Australia’s youth has found a tenth of kids aged 10-14 fit definitions of ‘‘at-risk’’ or ‘‘problem’’ gamblers. And a third have adults willing to place bets on their behalf. Almost a third of kids aged 10-14 said they had played electronic gambling machines in the previous year, more than half had purchased scratch tickets. 2012 Junior gamblers battle addiction

In-play betting ads ‘encourage children to gamble’

Various gambling bodies have been recently reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for encouraging children to gamble. In this article the issue in England is highlighted with various advertisements centered around  ‘in-play’ betting, targeting the younger demographic. In-play betting ads 'encourage children to gamble'

Turning gamers into gamblers

Popular, long-running online game Runescape is being widely criticised for encouraging youngsters to gamble..Australian gamer, parent and former gambling addict Jakob Gamertsfelder is a veteran Runescape player but is now one of many actively protesting about the game's new direction - what he describes as "an online casino aimed at children". Most of the complaints are directed at Squeal of Fortune, which was added early this year and allows players to "buy spins" to a virtual wheel of fortune to win prizes. Jakob says Squeal of Fortune is "marketing aimed at habituating and incentivising gambling, directly aimed at kids". "My motivation comes not just from the good memories of spending time with my kids in Runescape but also from remembering what it feels like to be caught up in a gambling addiction, which I was for some years." Last year a gambling industry veteran urged sports betting agencies to target video gamers, while a study suggested teenager game players had brains "like gambling addicts". Meanwhile, research in 2009 suggested teenagers who regularly play video games are more likely to develop anti-social behaviour that can lead to problem gambling. Jakob Gamertsfelder is particularly angry that Runescape's new owners Jagex changed the terms and conditions of Runescape around the same time as launching Squeal of Fortune. The changes ensure the company is not liable if a player uses someone else’s credit card. He says this seems to have been done because Jagex expects kids to use their parent’s cards without permission. "The timing indicates the intent," Jakob says. "It annoys the crap out of me that Jagex does something this malicious and then fobs off responsibility to parents." Turning gamers into gamblers

Frequent gamers have brain differences, study finds

Young teens who were frequent video gamers had more gray matter in the rewards center of the brain than peers who didn't play video games as much -- suggesting that gaming may be correlated to changes in the brain as much as addictions are. This characteristic is precisely why casino owners are aiming to promote internet gambling and target those who are already prone to addiction. Frequent gamers have brain differences study finds

Facebook ‘creating a generation of gambling addicts because of site’s Las Vegas style games’

Facebook has been accused of turning youngsters into gambling addicts with an explosion of Las Vegas-style casino games on the social networking site. Children are using ‘virtual coins’ to simulate the thrill of hitting the jackpot with slot machine and roulette games on their home computers and mobile phones. Zynga, which accounts for 12 per cent of all Facebook’s revenues due to its popular games such as FarmVille, launched Zynga Slots in the UK last month. Although these games are free, addiction experts have warned the games encourage teenagers to think gambling is harmless fun. Facebook 'creating a generation of gambling addicts because of site's Las Vegas style games'

Facebook online casinos ‘tempting young to gamble’

The UK’s MailOnline reports online gambling giant 888 has struck a lucrative deal with Facebook to offer Las Vegas-style slot machines and other games funded by credit and debit card transactions up to £500 (roughly US $761).  Facebook and its gambling partners have been training youth with slot and bingo-style games. The Mail quotes Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University citing research showing that playing free games online is a big factor in developing problem gambling. He warned the new apps will open the floodgates as “gambling companies dive into the social media frenzy to make money. It is thought Facebook will take a 30 percent cut of all bets placed.” These free games are available to US customers as well. Online game giant Zynga for months has featured intrusive popups and ads pushing their slots and poker games in their ubiquitous "Words with Friends" blockbuster game. 2012 Social network is tempting young to gamble with new betting games

Regions With Casinos See Increase Sex Trafficking Among Minors

One of the most unfortunate consequences from casinos is that along with them tends to come a rise in crime. Of all the crimes associated with communities around casinos, one of the most prevalent is the sex trafficking of minors. This atrocity is garnering more and more attention nationwide as the number of children affected increases exponentially. Increase in sex trafficking of minors getting local, state attention

College students and problem gambling

This study, made for the Iowa Department of Public Health, examined the relationship between college students and problem gambling. After using both qualitative and quantitative data, the study concluded that almost 70% of college students gambled in the past year, and about one in ten met at least DSM-IV criterion for potential problem or pathological gambling, a disturbing figure that presents real concerns for America's future. Below is a copy of the study, which is detailed and informative, and sheds light on the future of American problem gambling. 2014 Pilot Study of Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors Among Iowa College Students

Why adolescents are biologically more susceptible to problem gambling

This study, from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows a biological breakdown of how adolescents' brains make them more likely to be problem gamblers.  This is because the brain of an adolescent places a greater value on rewards than does that of an adult, a developmental effect that causes more adventurous risk-taking in adolescents, which can lead to problem gambling. This thorough study explains the science behind why kids shouldn't gamble. 2014 Neural representation of expected value in the adolescent brain

Link found between problem gambling and family violence

A new study by the Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre at the University of Melbourne, Australia shows a strong link between problem gambling and familial violence. Fifty-three percent of problem gamblers reported some form of family violence in the past 12 months and Forty-four percent reported victimization in the home. These disturbing numbers show yet another effect of problem gambling, and shows further why more casinos isn't a good thing. This HealthCanal study summarizes the study's findings. Problem gambling and family violence strongly linked says new study

Study finds that disadvantaged youth may be more likely to become problem gamblers

This article from The Baltimore Sun summarizes the findings of a new study from Johns Hopkins University that concluded that disadvantaged youth have a higher propensity to become problem gamblers, due in part to their increased level of participation in betting on dice in the streets or betting on sports games, which serves as a gateway to more serious, problem gambling when they are allowed in a casino. These discoveries come on the heels of an increased casino and gambling presence in Maryland, where the study took place. Disadvantaged urban youth may be more likely to be problem gamblers

DE casinos to launch online operations

The three casinos in the state of Delaware are about to put in motion the first phase of their online gambling operations, which will be run through Facebook. The first phase will include only free games but within months, these casinos hope to have up and running full-fledged casino games online, running through Facebook. Delaware is now the first state in the nation to have legal casino games online. These two articles, from the USA Today and Delaware Online, describe this development, which will allow problem gamblers to throw their money away from the comfort of their own couch and allow America's kids to get sucked in through Facebook. Delaware's 3 casinos launch free online gaming Delaware casinos' online gambling will be run through Facebook

New gambling for kids

Now we have a “weird” new $2.3 billion gambling game involving garish virtual assault rifles. The latest scandal involves “video game weapon skins” available to any age including kids using parents credit cards. The video gaming world based on “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive”(CS:GO) is huge and complicated. There are various levels of play and games going on around the world that include pro leagues and involve 380,000 players at any one time. Players form teams of terrorists and counter-insurgents who shoot at each other, which is a thoroughly edifying and character building activity. A tournament in early April sold out the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio and had 71 million online viewers over a four day period. The game was not particularly successful until the originator Valve introduced a new gimmick called skins. The skins were virtual decorated weapons that could be bought during the game, and then sold, hopefully at a profit, more frequently at a loss. Video gaming is not a sport, but in common with soccer, football, basketball and baseball, people like to gamble on the outcome.  So you can gamble on the games or on the on-line trade in virtual weapons, a black market without the danger of being mugged. Most of the skins markets are run by operators other than Valve. There is no consumer protection. Games have been fixed, insider information has led to huge bets, seven players have been banned, and teenagers are being turned into addicted gamblers. The online games are banned in only four states.   A comprehensive introduction to this new phenomena is by Joshua Brusten and Eben Novy-Williams, “Virtual Weapons are turning teen gamers into serious gamblers,” http://www.blomberg.com/features//2016-virtual-guns-counterstrike-gambling/ July15, 2016.  

Why Sheldon Adelson Opposes DFS

Sheldon Adelson is the owner of the largest gambling empire in Las Vegas, the Sands. He is the main mover behind the $1.9 billion football stadium planned for Las Vegas and the move of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas. While he makes his money extracting money from casino players, he sees a difference between what he does and the exploitation of the young and the poor through DFS games. He is opposed to legalizing them and he claims that his opposition is not just based on not wanting the competition. Nevada recently determined that DFS is gambling, did not outlaw it, but required that providers of DFS must seek a gambling license. Most DFS companies will not do that because they claim they are not providing gambling. One small vendor has applied for a license and has opened lounges in a few Vegas casinos. But, effectively DFS is banned from Nevada. Adelson is temporarily satisfied with Nevada’s action because he believes that DFS is immoral, preying upon the poor and the young. Adelson differentiates his own predatory gambling as being upon the wealthy an middle class who go to Las Vegas to gamble and for whom the casino can refuse to serve them if they are exhibiting signs of getting too deeply engrossed in the games. The distinction between a predatory casino and a predatory DFS provider may seem vague to most of us, but to Adelson the distinction between what he regards as controlled gambling and gambling without controls on who loses and how much, is a difference between a moral business and an immoral one. This author disagrees. Twenty-eight NFL teams have cut deals with Draft Kings or Fan Duels. Adelson says the league is involved with gambling already. The claim that DFS is not gambling is fallacious. DFS makes everyone with a cell phone a potential gambler, and a potential addict. Adelson views that as immoral because of the access to the poor and the young because the DFS sites cannot card their patrons. When asked if he would provide lounges for DFS players in his casinos as some Las Vegas casinos have done for a share of the profits, he replied, “NEVER!”   https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-why-sheldon-adelson-is-against-daly-fantasy-sports   Daniel Roberts, September 9, 2016.

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