Underage Gambling and School Posted On

Underage gambling can have negative effects on youth and their peers, and there are many things that school personnel can do to decrease the prevalence of underage gambling.

Who does underage gambling affect?

Studies have shown that underage gambling can have damaging effects on youth who gamble, and on those around them.  Youth who gamble are at an increased risk for:

  • poor academic performance
  • delinquency and crime
  • damaged relationships.  

A youth who is participating in underage gambling will have more difficulty with successful academic performance because they’ll be preoccupied by their gambling, they’ll be anxious due to losses, and they may be dealing with a diminishing social life as they lose friends.  This is a problem for schools since academic performance is a main goal of school.  Plus, the younger a youth begins gambling the more likely he or she is to develop a gambling addiction.

Youth who gamble are at an increased risk for poor academic performance!

Additionally, peers of the youth who gamble may be gambling themselves, or may have negative feelings about their peers’ gambling.  Their peer may owe them money, they may be struggling with broken promises, suffering anxiety as they worry about their gambling friend, and the gambling youth may be the reason for other problems within a social circle.  Therefore, the peers of the gambling youth may also be finding struggles with academic performance as they are distracted and disinterested with academic needs.  

Looking for more information?  Read more about underage gambling through our eBook titled The Dangers of Youth Gambling Addiction.

What can a school do?

There are a number of things a school can do to combat the effects of underage gambling.  

  • Take a look at our 2017 Problem Gambling Awareness Month toolkit here.  In this toolkit, you’ll find some background information and action steps that will certainly help guide your efforts to prohibit underage gambling.
  • Update school policies to ensure they include consequences for underage gambling.  There are some great resources to help guide any administrator in developing policies around the prohibition of underage gambling.  Here is a link to a guide for help.
  • Host gambling-free activities when youth are present.  Having gambling-free activities with youth participation helps decrease their exposure to gambling opportunities and helps decrease their chances of gambling.  You’ll find a great template for a gambling-free event policy at bottom of the YOU(th) Decide site..
  • Pay attention to the jargon that youth are using about their gambling behaviors.  Be aware of the different slang words, and the activities that youth are participating in.  Each school’s student population  may have an emphasis on different types gambling activities youth participate in (i.e. dice games, sports betting, gaming betting, etc.).  Being aware of the jargon and activities will help influence the school’s message to each specific student body.
  • Educate the school personnel about the risks of underage gambling.  School personnel who are educated on the devastating effects that underage gambling can have will feel increased motivation to help eliminate underage gambling.  Take the time to educate your school personnel so that everyone has a unified education and message for the students.  
  • Find help if you feel that someone is struggling with problem gambling, whether it’s a colleague or student. If you’re unsure where to turn, you can find help by calling the New York State HOPEline at 1-8778-8-HOPENY, or 1-877-846-7369.

Underage gambling is affecting students’ academic performance.  Following the above listed 5 action steps will help educate your students and school personnel, decrease underage gambling, and hopefully help facilitate an increase in academic performance in your school!