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Do kids gamble? The National
Research Council (NRC) suggests that not only do most adolescents
gamble, but also that they've gambled recently.
The most common types of gambling
for kids are reported to be card games and sports betting. But
increasingly, parents of teens are concerned that their kids may be
gambling on the Internet, where many game operators are operating from
servers outside the U.S. - beyond the jurisdiction of state or federal
regulations about the hours of operation, the age of the participants,
or the type of game offered.
According to the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC), it's easy for kids to access online gambling sites,
especially if they have access to credit or debit cards. Indeed, some
of the most popular non-gambling websites carry ads for gambling
sites, and many online game-playing sites link to gambling sites.
The FTC wants teens and parents
to understand the risks associated with kids gambling online:
You can lose your money. Online
gambling operations are in business to make a profit. They take in
more money than they pay out.
You can ruin a good credit
rating. Online gambling generally requires the use of a credit card.
If kids rack up debt online, they could ruin their credit rating -
or yours, if they use your credit card. That can prevent you from
getting a loan to buy a house or a car, or even from getting a job.
Online gambling can be addictive.
Because Internet gambling is a solitary activity, people can gamble
uninterrupted and undetected for hours at a time. Gambling in social
isolation and using credit to gamble may be risk factors for
developing gambling problems. Gamblers Anonymous (www.gamblersanonymous.org)
is a self-help group for problem gamblers. Gam-Anon (www.gam-anon.org)
is a self-help program for family members.
Gambling is illegal for kids.
Every state prohibits gambling by minors. That's why gambling sites
don't pay out to kids and why they go to great lengths to verify the
identity of any winner.
The FTC works for the consumer to
prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and
avoid them. To file a
complaint or to get free information
on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or
call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The
FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related
Consumer Sentinel, a
secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law
enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.