Youth gambling: not a safe bet

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Purpose of review

To increase awareness and knowledge of the growing problem of adolescent gambling.

Recent findings

Some risk factors have been established for adolescent gambling. Many of the risk factors for gambling behavior can be addressed in effective prevention of problem gambling. There is an association between some psychiatric comorbid conditions and problem gambling (i.e. depression). Current treatment modalities are based on adult experiences and need further investigation for adolescents. Prevention strategies and education of youth, parents, teachers, educators, and professionals are essential in targeting this serious problem.


Given the increasing overall prevalence of adolescent gambling, it is imperative that pediatricians appreciate that gambling problems can also afflict adolescents. There is a clear link between problem gambling in adolescence and pathologic gambling in adulthood. Thus, like other addictive behaviors (cigarette smoking, alcohol and drug use), youth and parents should be screened and counseled about the risks associated with excessive gambling.

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