Teens in Thompson-Okanagan love to gamble: report | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Teens in Thompson-Okanagan love to gamble: report

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
July 23, 2021 - 7:30 AM

A new study on youth gambling found that a higher proportion of teens in the Southern Interior gambled in the past year than the provincial average.

And one in five B.C. residents aged 12 to 18 gambled for money.

Those are some of the key findings in Understanding the Odds, a study released recently by Vancouver's McCreary Centre Society based on data from the B.C. Adolescent Health Survey conducted every five years in most B.C. schools.

The data was compiled from 38,000 responses in the 2018 survey.

In that year, 63 per cent of teens had gambled in some form. That rate was 65 per cent in the Okanagan and 66 per cent in the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap region.

Twenty-one per cent of those surveyed had gambled for money. The study does not include a breakdown by region for that behaviour.

That included on-line gambling, sports gambling, lottery tickets, physically playing cards or dice or betting on sports in person.

Playing cards, dice or sports betting in person was most popular with 12 per cent of youth engaging in these activities. Nine per cent did so online.

Older youths were more likely to not only gamble for money but to gamble exclusively for money.

Regular gamblers – playing daily or weekly – were more likely to play online. Those who gambled exclusively online were less likely to have in-person friends.

There was no gender difference in regular online gambling for money. Overall, boys tended to gamble more than girls.

Youth who gambled for money were more likely to engage in other risk taking behaviours such as skipping school and driving after drinking.

“In recent years, gambling has become more widely available and attractive to young people due to the increase in mobile and online gambling and gaming options, including through simulated gambling games and online games which are ‘free-to-play’, but encourage players to spend money to increase their chances of making progress or winning,” the McCreary Centre Society report reads.

It found that three per cent of those who gambled for money (one per cent of all youths) felt they had a problem with gambling.

“The report has clearly shown that gambling for money at least a couple of times a month in the past year was associated with a more negative health picture in areas such as relationships with peers, physical health, and mental health,” the society said, adding there needs to be more discussion about youth gambling.

“Through that understanding we can increase the odds that these young people will get the help they need to address any gambling issues they may experience and the support which will help them to thrive,” the society said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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