Altering Age Limits for Gambling In the US

Changes in the gambling age limit may have dire results that we might be overlooking as we ponder on the need to decrease or increase the age limit for gambling. Here are things we should consider.

First are operational expenses. Changing the age limit involves redoing ticket details as well as advertising and other promotions to inform the public on the alterations and also fit the gambling game according to the age bracket included in the targeted market. In the case of a state lottery where the local government spearheads its operations the adjustments may incur tremendous overheads and affect profits.

When the age limit is made higher—say from 18 to 21—there would be a discernible decrease in profits happening due to downsizing the market. Think of what this would do to a state sponsored lottery from which lots of community projects are fed from. Or imagine how private gambling outfits may be forced to lay off employees.

Changing the legal gambling age from 21 to 18 is considered a major concern for casino owners because it may entail massive profit loss. It's undeniable that many teenagers and even kids are able to get their hands on Internet games that involve gambling, with or without parents' consent. The percentage of profits pumped in from juvenile gambling is enormous, to say the least. And we glean this from the way proprietors decry attempts to stall the age limit adjustment from 21 to 18.

On the other hand, many people—especially those coming from the ranks of protestors—think risks when changes in the gambling age limit are started are worth it. They reason that we will be saving our kids from the danger of exposing them too early to gambling addiction and keep them from the trouble of being helplessly susceptible to a vicious problem.

The age limit should be set permanently after enough deliberations on it have been expended. This is to avoid the added pain of losing so much money incurred from periodic alterations to the law just to suit certain capricious private interests, aside from exacerbating the very heart of the gambling problem among the youth. Blowing this issue out in the media now and then only lends it further promotional boost.

We have to reflect on clamors for changes in the gambling age limit and examine House Bill 2872 and Senate Bill 5523 on their true merits. We have to think first of the youth, and second only the monetary consequences.