Enforcing Legal Age for Gambling Online

Online gaming has become more accessible not just to teens but even to kids—those below 18 years old. With this reality what could setting an age limit for gambling really do? Or even a gambling legal age online for that matter?

Even if we set the legal age at 12 or 10 years old we cannot put our kids off online gambling for good. We may get them out of land based casinos but this is the least of our concerns. The real concern is the unregulated availability of online gaming to people of all ages. It's so easy to access—just go online and log in a gambling website. That's it. Almost any kid can do that today.

So what are we going to do? How can we check or enforce a limit on online gambling age? How do we check the ages of online gamblers? Well, some sectors are thinking of using the same concept they use when applying for a payday loan online. Before a gambler is given access to the site or room birth records of the player must be checked first. This should be easy and fast with online verification with the local civil registry.

But then, how do we ensure that it's not just some kid pretending to be an adult gambler? Some have suggested strict use of permanent government issued identification numbers, like those issued by IRS or social security. When an adult gambler wants to enter a site or room for gambling the player should type in the player's pertinent personal information plus the IRS or SS identification number.

But is this any assurance of really enforcing a set gambling legal age online? Again, any addicted kid can take hold of an adult's ID number and use it to gain access. But at least many people feel this is better than merely setting an age limit. At least we set up some obstacle instead of just letting a kid go past a set age limit sign nonchalantly.

This issue deserves more than merely setting up limits. A study by the Harvard Medical School on gambling says teens are 3 times more susceptible to gambling addiction than adults are. The younger they are the more the propensity. And any form of addiction has enormous and dire psychological consequences later.

The proper remedy here remains parents serving as raw models and educating their own kids on the dangers of gambling addiction, not just mere setting a gambling legal age online. We cannot legislate morality.