European Study on Online Gambling
It would appear that many European teens have found a new form of addiction beyond drug and alcohol issues, and it sits right in their bedrooms.
A new study that comes out of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs found that European teens are drinking alcohol and doing drugs at a much lower rate than ever before, but online gambling is becoming ever more prominent among young adults.
ESPAD conducts a research report on a four year basis, meaning that they will report the current habits of teens every few years. The latest one was released last year in 2015, and the results were not very appealing. It would appear that many online gambling platforms are being used by teenagers that aren’t legally allowed to play on these types of sites and are more prone to addiction due to the innocence of youth.
Over 96,000 teenagers that are 15 and 16 years old were studied in 35 countries throughout Europe. When researchers asked the group about whether or not they had participated in any form of online gambling over the last year, 23% of male respondents stated that they had. The problem was much smaller for female students, with only 5% of females in the same age group reporting that they had participated in online gambling.
While that many males may report that they have attempted some form of online gambling, it’s even more alarming that 12% of European male teenagers will say that they actually frequently gamble on online gambling websites.
Many jurisdictions put in a lot of measures to prevent teenagers from falling into the gambling trap and to keep youth away from the industry. This might come as putting certain restrictions on advertising times and products, or using private programs to talk about the dangers of addictive gambling with youth.
Almost all websites will require some form of age verification in order to try and prevent underage
players from accessing the site, but these aren’t usually very effective. They will usually require a single pop-up that asks if the player is over 18 years of age. If they say yes, they instantly gain access to the site with very few hurdles in their way. This isn’t really a way to prevent youth from playing on these sites but acts more so as a way to cover the butts of the operators that run them. Teenagers are perfectly fine with lying about their age to get access to a gambling website.
Some sites do take it a step further and require identification, but they don’t implement this until a person tries to withdraw from their account. This doesn’t actually stop anyone from being able to play on the site, it just prevents them from being able to redeem their winnings.
With other forms of harmful addiction fading out it’s not all bad, but there is a clear need for a focus to be placed on online gambling.