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Problem Gambling Prevention

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Welcome to the Problem Gambling Prevention Committee

Between 60-80% of high school students report having gambled for money in the past year
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96% of adolescents are exposed to gambling ads
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Help stop problem gambling before it starts

Children who gamble before the age of 12 are at 4 times greater risk to develop a gambling problem later in life. Change the Game was created to raise awareness of the sheer amount of gambling behaviors that our youth are being exposed to every single day. Exposure to gambling can happen innocently enough, from things like family poker nights or buying lottery tickets as gifts. Some kids start to participate in Fantasy Sports betting after seeing their parents or elders participate in work or neighborhood leagues.

Youth engage in bets and dares with their peers

Friendly dares with peers or bets surrounding school sports and events can further introduce young people to gambling behaviors. Because their adolescent brains aren’t fully developed, young people are more likely to act impulsively and take risks. They are more willing to take on challenges for the thrill, credibility, social status, or to feel like they belong.

The earlier people are introduced to gambling, the more likely they are to become problem gamblers as adults – and too many young people are at risk. Exposure to gambling can happen innocently enough, from things like parents betting on sports or buying lottery tickets. Friendly bets and card games with peers at school can further introduce young people to gambling behaviors. And many of the video games and apps youth play simulate the same excitement experienced by gamblers. If problem gambling isn’t halted early, it can have lifelong consequences. The resources available through Change the Game are designed to educate and inform both youth and adults.

Treatment Solutions

Tips for Parents

Talk to your children. We all have a role to play in preventing problem gambling among young people. It starts with knowing the facts.

  • Establish limits and set controls on devices that regulate game time.
  • Support school policies that prohibit gambling.
  • Talk to your kids about gambling and set controls on devices to prohibit micro-transactions.

Words to Know

  • 1-Up: An object that gives the player an extra life (or try) in games where the player has a limited number of chances to complete a game, a task, or level. 1-ups can be acheived by completing levels or found in purchased loot boxes.
  • 100%: A game is 100% complete once a player unlocks all available content and completes the game. The player must collect every in-game item, upgrade, and complete every mission to get 100%. Many players are so determined to get 100%, that they will make multiple in-game purchases for upgrades to achieve this goal.
  • Downloadable Content (DLC): Additional content for a video game that is acquired through a digital delivery system. DLCs can be purchased in video game console stores. Content could be packs for skins, weapons, characters, alternate worlds, and new levels.
  • Free-to-Play (F2P or FtP): Games that don’t require a purchase to download and play. But, once downloaded, players are pressured to spend money on upgrade items like loot boxes, skins, and weapons.
  • Login Rewards: Upon logging into a game or app for the first time of the day, players will be granted a reward. These login rewards create daily gaming habits by giving players bigger rewards for coming back to play for consecutive days.
  • Loot Box or Mystery Box: A form of in-game gambling that players can open for a random chance of winning a prize, gain an experience level or other in-game achievement.
  • Microtransaction: A business model used in games where players can purchase virtual goods via micropayments in the gaming console store.
  • Mod: Derived from the act of modifying a game, Mods may take the form of new character skins, altered game mechanics or the creation of new game stories.
  • Power-Up: Objects that instantly benefit or add extra abilities to the game character, usually as a temporary effect. Persistent power-ups are called perks. Power-Ups can be achieved by completing levels or found in purchased loot boxes.
  • Season:
    1. The full set of downloadable content that is planned to be added to a video game, which can be entirely purchased with a season pass.
    2. A finite period of time in massive multiplayer online games in which new content, such as
      themes, rules, and modes, becomes available – sometimes replacing prior time-limited content. Notable games that use this “season” system include Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017) and Fortnite Battle Royale.
  • Season Pass: A purchase made in addition to the cost of the base game that generally enables the purchaser access to all downloadable content that is planned for that title without further cost, like gaming subscriptions.
  • Skin: An aesthetic change to an item or player. Generally, this doesn’t serve any other function than to make your character look better (or worse). Rare skins can be obtained by loot boxes, completing certain
    objectives, or getting high scores in competitive games. Players often use skins to display their rare achievements or high skill level like trophies.
  • Unlock: Gaining access to previously unavailable content in a video game by fulfilling certain conditions like completing levels or making purchases.
  • Upgrade: A way to make an item or character more powerful.

Warning Signs

Be on the lookout for the following warning signs that may indicate a problem gambling addiction:

  • Students miss classes or entire school days with no explanation.
  • Grades suddenly drop or assignments aren’t being completed.
  • Disinterest towards extracurricular activities.
  • Behavior becomes more secretive, defensive or aggressive.
  • There’s an increased interest in money and value of possessions.
  • They speak openly about an interest in gambling or borrowing money.

How are youth gambling?

  • Card Games
  • Lottery Tickets
  • Truth or Dare
  • Internet Challenges
  • Fantasy Sports
  • Trading Card Games
  • Role Play Strategy Games
  • Bets on School Sports
  • Family Fun Center Arcades
  • Video Games & Apps

Identifying gambling activity:

  • Friendly card games with peers can further introduce young people to gambling behaviors. Some kids wager money, valuable items, and food.
  • Exposure to gambling can happen innocently enough, from things like parents buying lottery tickets as gifts.
  • Ohio’s youth are taking on Dares and Viral Challenges. They are more willing to take on challenges for the thrill, credibility, social status, or to feel like they belong.
  • Some kids feel it’s easier to fit in when they make bets on school sports and events.
  • When buying trading card decks for kids, there is a chance of getting rarer cards. These valuable cards are sometimes used as a wager in strategy card games.
  • Role playing strategy games and card games resemble gambling – betting against odds using cards and dice.
  • Arcades and family fun centers look and function a lot like casinos and encourage gambling behavior. Kids will spend money on games to trade their wins for stuffed animals and other prizes.
  • Some kids start to participate in Fantasy Sports betting after seeing their parents or elders participate in work or neighborhood leagues.
  • Video games and apps replicate real-life gambling opportunities that could lead to lifelong issues for the young people exposed to them.

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