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Estimated 750,000 problem gamblers among America's youth
Date:5/6/2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Gambling activity is widespread among U.S. adolescents and young adults ages 14 through 21, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalos Research Institute on Addictions (RIA).

Results of the first national survey of its kind show problem gambling -- described as gambling with three or more negative consequences (for example, gambling more than you intended or stealing money to gamble) in the past year -- occurring at a rate of 2.1 percent among youth 14 to 21. That ppercentage projects to approximately 750,000 young problem gamblers nationwide.

In addition, 11 percent of the youth surveyed gambled twice per week or more, a rate that describes frequent gambling. Sixty-eight percent of the youth interviewed reported that they had gambled at least once in the past year.

In a society where young people are increasingly exposed to gambling influences, there is cause for concern, said John W. Welte, Ph.D., principal investigator on the study.

The results were available on line in December 2007 and will be published in the June 2008 issue of the Journal of Gambling Studies.

A total of 2,274 U.S. youth were surveyed from August 2005 through January 2007 for this study. Interviews were conducted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The national, random-digit-dial telephone survey was sampled from all phone numbers in the U.S.

The rates of problem gambling found in the study are not, in fact, as high as the rates of problem gambling found in eight previous studies conducted in smaller jurisdictions by other research teams, according to Welte. Five of those studies were school surveys that obtained data only from youth attending that school or residing in one state or one region of the country. Others were telephone surveys using age-targeted population samples. Welte said, The 2.1 percent rate of problem gamblin
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Contact: Kathleen Weaver
weaver@ria.buffalo.edu
716-887-2585
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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