Did you know that it is illegal in New York state to sell lottery products to people under age 18? Do you know why?
Youth Gambling International found that young adults are three times more likely to have problems associated with gambling than adults. According to the New York Council on Problem Gambling, approximately 140,000 adolescents in New York state report problems due to their gambling.
An additional 10 percent of youth in NYS are at risk for problem gambling. Forty-eight percent of seventh- through 12th-graders report having gambled in the past year.
Youth today are exposed to gambling more than ever before. They see gambling ads every day that depict gambling as exciting, glamorous and a way to get rich quick. Most adults who gamble do so responsibly and as a social activity. Unfortunately, for some people, gambling can become a destructive addiction.
None of us wish this disease on our children, grandchildren or loved ones. The earlier a young person begins gambling, the more likely they are to develop a gambling problem as an adult.
Did you know that less than half of parents ever discuss gambling issues with their teens? Teens whose parents are open about the risks involved with gambling and about their disapproval of young people gambling are much less likely to gamble than teens whose parents do not talk to them about gambling.
Parents play a crucial role in educating their children about gambling, the real odds of winning and the risks and realities of gambling addiction. Please talk with your children about the facts so they have more information about the realities of gambling than just the ads they see on TV.
For more information about problem gambling, please call the HFM Prevention Council at 736-8188 or check out the NY Problem Gambling website at www.knowtheodds.org. If you know someone who needs help with a gambling problem or other addiction, call 1-877-8-HOPE-NY.
Ann Rhodes, director
HFM Prevention Council