Risk Factors for Problem Gambling Among Youth

| February 5, 2013

How do some youth become problem gamblers?

It’s impossible, of course, to predict which kids are going to become problem gamblers. We’ve found out more about who is more likely to become a problem gambler, based upon certain “risk factors.”

Common risk factors for youth problem gambling:

  • Single‐parent household
  • Gambling on card games and sports
  • Being male, older adolescent
  • Household income below median
  • Playing sports for school (competition)
  • Having lost more than $50 in a single month
  • Started gambling before 8th grade (early initiation)
  • Parents who gamble (favorable parental attitudes/behaviors)
  • Youth are twice as likely to be at‐risk gamblers & four times
    as likely to be problem gamblers
Source: Volberg, Hedberg, & Moore (2008)

Other risk factors as seen in the research:

  • History of gambling in the family; in Oregon, children of
    parents who gamble are nearly twice as likely to be weekly or daily
    gamblers than children whose parents don’t gamble (Carlson & Moore,
  • Problems at home
  • Low self-esteem
  • Peer pressure
  • Loneliness/depression/boredom
  • Competition/risk
  • Escape from reality
  • Coping mechanism from life’s problems
  • To gain attention from peers
  • To win money (however, for adolescents with gambling problems,
    money is the vehicle, not the reason, for gambling)
Gupta & Derevensky, 1998a; Gupta &
Derevensky, 1998b; Gupta & Derevensky, 1997; Saunders, 1999.

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Category: Problem Gambling

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