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Canadian Pediatric Society Warns Against Teen Gambling

With online gambling becoming much more prevalent around the world over the past decade, children have been more susceptible to gambling problems than ever before. Lawmakers in dozens of jurisdictions have been balancing the line between gambling expansion and problem gambling.

Now, the Canadian Pediatric Society has released an opinion that is warning parents and legislators about the dangers of allowing children to gamble, even in a friendly atmosphere with no money at stake. The dangers, according to the group, run deeper than just addiction.

"If children are playing cards or dice games for money, even if it's with their family members, then they are gambling," said Dr. Jorge Pinzon, in a press release. "It seems harmless, but as kids get older, these behaviors can develop into more serious gambling activities. And far too many youth develop problems with gambling."

That opinion is not knew among doctors, as psychiatrists have been warning about the dangers of adolescent gambling for years. The difference, however, is now the children have gambling much more readily available with the Internet gambling boom hitting a fever pitch in recent years.

"When I was young, you couldn't go on the Internet and create accounts to gamble," said Warren Combs, an Ontario resident. "These days, the kids can get their hands on a parents credit card, and off to the computer they go. Sometimes the parents don't find out until after their next credit card bill. In some cases, I bet they don't find out at all."

There are safeguards in place at most online casinos that will keep children from gaining access to the cash sites. Online poker has become one of the hottest ways to gamble online, with many countries regulating the industry over the past five years. Even with regulation, the Canadian Pediatric Society believes more needs to be done.

"In this increasingly web-based and networked era, a new frontier has evolved and to date, the impact of new technology on this significantly 'risky business' has not been elucidated. Research into online gambling is needed to better support our youth, particularly males, who engage in this type of practice."

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