When most people think of the typical gambler, they picture an adult who hits the casinos on the way home from work to try their hand at a favorite table game, a retired couple on vacation with money to blow on the slots or a down-on-their-luck person hoping to have that one lucky day while chasing losses. What they don’t picture is the teenager locked in their room, glued to a tablet or phone, looking for the next quick trade. Yet teenage gambling is on the rise, and the new generation could be the future of both the casino industry and a wave of gambling addiction.
The reality is that online gambling, the use of apps like Robinhood, crypto, gambling streams, paid loot-box gaming systems and playing with popular stocks like Gamestop have become recent trends for teens interested in making a quick buck. Convenient and accessible from nearly any location, many teens are having trouble turning away from online gambling opportunities, and in most cases, it’s through no fault of their own.
Generation Z and Quick Fixes
The truth is that Generation Z is risking it all through online gambling, but not for no reason. This generation has, against all odds, faced one of the biggest challenges in global history with the pandemic. Isolated from peers and often confined to social media and online entertainment for outlets, it’s no wonder that Gen Z has produced more than one casino teenager. Whether facing sports betting addiction or caught up in rolling on streams, teens these days have been exposed to quick fixes and high stakes for years, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the screen time is now having real-life consequences. In fact, it could be argued that savvy apps and marketers basically orchestrated it.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, teenage gambling is on the rise, and it’s a big problem. After a recent visit to more than 100 online gambling websites, the FTC found that minors are able to easily access top gambling sites and that non-gambling sites are even marketing to teens. Not only is this illegal, but it’s leading to a generation about to risk it all in hopes of a quick fix to other mental health issues like anxiety, feelings of isolation and worries or hopelessness about the future.
Never before has a generation grown up with the online world by their side the entire time. Generation Z is in the unique position of navigating developmental milestones and phases with the world watching through social media, targeted online marketing through video games and more. Now, with Gen Z teens becoming addicted to playing the odds, according to Betting USA, many governmental agencies are taking a closer look. In fact, some countries have gone so far as to outlaw paid loot-box systems and forms of online trading.
Risky Behaviors and High Rewards
With a generation raised when job markets are changing and the ways we make money are more unconventional than ever before, it’s no wonder parents are becoming increasingly concerned and wondering what is and isn’t risky online behavior for teenagers. For example, if your teen is involved in online trading, you might wonder, “Is day trading gambling at all?” You might even believe taking an interest in the stock market or solid investments is a great sign of your teen’s potential to work in the financial industry.
The answer might not be simple, leaving teens and parents alike unsure of the risks and rewards that come with online gambling or even regular day trading at a young age. When in doubt, the best bet is always to proceed with caution and take a close look at the risks before encouraging older teens to participate.
If you’re concerned, here’s a closer look at the risks of online gambling for teens:
- A teen can damage good credit before they’ve even had time to establish a credit score.
- Gambling is illegal for minors and can lead to legal issues.
- According to the Mayo Clinic, whether you’re considering day trading vs. gambling or sports betting vs. the stock market, in all its forms, gambling can be addictive.
When Online Gambling Becomes a Problem
The good news is, there are ways to determine if your adolescent has a gambling problem. To determine if your child is a casino teenager, rather than asking yourself questions about day trading gambling or playing with crypto, assess whether online gambling is impacting your teenager in these ways, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Your child is consumed with planning and making time for gambling activities.
- Your teen has lost interest in other hobbies and routines.
- Your teenager is chasing lost money.
- Your child uses gambling to hide from other problems or as an escape from relationships and stressors.
- Your adolescent is losing jobs or other opportunities or not doing as well in school due to gambling.
- Your son or daughter is asking you to bail them out financially to pay off a bet or credit card.
Getting Help for Your Gambling Teen
If you or your teen has been dealing with a gambling problem, it can be hard to imagine things will get easier with the convenience of online gambling these days. The truth is that it’s possible to recover from a gambling addiction with help. You can start by reaching out to a mental health professional who understands what you or your teen is going through and help you determine the best ways to treat the addiction. They can talk you through your options to help you decide the best treatment, whether it includes therapy or medication or a combination of both. Taking the first step and reaching out for help will lead to hope.
For help with a gambling problem, contact us at FHE Health to find out more about our programs. By calling (833) 596-3502, you can speak to a licensed professional who can help you understand your options to guide your teen to a successful recovery.