Underage Gambling and other Vulnerable Populations

The proliferation of online gambling is a fact. Gambling options are widely available to pretty much anyone with a good internet connection. While fun and exciting for many, online gambling often attracts people with various gambling disorders. The internet gives teens the option to gamble freely online as long as they can conceal their identity.

Most countries around the world have accepted a legal gambling age of minimum of 18 years. While it is hard for underage persons to sneak into brick and mortar casinos, it is much easier for them to get into an online casino. There is not too much that can stop a teenager from wagering online. They need to find a casino that does not have too strict verification requirement and then find a working credit card. The phenomenon is actually widespread among boys. Let’s take a good look at the risks for teenagers that can come from online gambling.

Negative effects of underage gambling

Online gambling, with its tricks and gimmicks that it uses to keep players stuck in the casino for longer, has quite some negative effects. The first and foremost is that it takes a toll of the body of the minor itself. Something that was once tried casually now becomes a priority for the kids and they get obsessed with trying to go back to the gambling tables. That distraction proves to be harmful to them as they are growing up by them ignoring physical health, studying and eating habits. They might turn to alcohol use early as well. They spend long hours (often at night) glued to the online casino screens – sleeping habits are distracted as well.

For example, operators must check the age of people who look underage and shouldn’t try to appeal to underage kids by reflecting on their culture.

Despite all the efforts to stop underage gambling, kids find new ways to gamble everyday. The number of problem gamblers is on the rise no matter what has been tried.


Underage gambling and the risk of gambling addiction

In recent years many young people tend to gamble online. Online gambling is becoming a trend among underage kids. That’s because of all the technologies around us. Younger people generally spend more time on the internet than adults.

This is becoming a problem because people who start gambling at a younger age, are more likely to develop gambling problems. Gambling at an early age is associated with more gambling activities in adulthood.

According to online researches, it is suggested that new technologies and online casinos are becoming more popular among youngsters. It is becoming more popular and new trends are more interesting to kids. Online casinos tend to make casinos more attractive. Teenagers use them to escape from everyday problems and isolate themselves, which can result in social isolation and depression.

What’s more, the findings from the UKGC’s Young People and Gambling 2016 report also shows that 9,000 of the 450,000 children gambling in England and Wales every week are likely to be problem gamblers.

Free-to-Play games and “gaming” addiction

Another growing problem where addiction can be developed is online games. Free to play games are very different from casinos because players can’t win real money. However, they open boxes with mystery prizes and items which helps them to progress faster. Competitive players who want to become better faster than the others, spend money to get better items.

Most gamers who play free to play games don’t put real money in games. However, the ones that do can spend thousands in a very short time. Those who do this are more likely to develop an addiction at a certain point.

This type of games are not really different than gambling. That’s why they are often called “pay-to-win”.


Free to play games model is similar to gambling. They depend on a very small amount of players. 90% of them are playing the game completely for free. Of those who spend money on free to play games, most don’t give money on the regular. The game is sustained by only 1% of all the players. They tend to spend thousands of dollars every single month. More than half of the income for the developers are coming from that kind of players.

That one percent of players are the ones who can have gambling problems in the future. They prefer to risk some of their money for a greater prize.

In conclusion, spending money on a free to play game, can be as bad as gambling. The main problem is, that there are no restrictions on making in-app purchases.

Other vulnerable underage kids

Another group of kids who are in danger of developing an addiction are the ones who hang out with grown-ups.

Kids who spend a lot of time with their older sibling can be introduced to gambling at a very young age. Hanging around a group who gamble, can be extremely interesting for a child. They find the experience new and tend to try out gambling at a very young age, which can result in an addiction.

You can find more about gaming addiction in:

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