Online Gambling Among the Underage in Europe

To date, there are some 3.3 million online gamblers in Europe wagering an average 4.5 billion Euros regularly. A great number of minors from the continent are getting more involved in it so that underage gambling has become a growing concern among an equally growing number of people. Here's why.

In 2006 it was estimated that about 2 of every 5 young people from ages 10 to 17 in Europe have tried real money online gambling. In 2005 it was 1 of 4 underage players. Experts air concern that the trend towards dependence is becoming clearer among the young. They have come out with data that the average spending of these youths for online gambling is something like 6.50 Euros a month. Accordingly, there are even teenagers who spend 40 Euros monthly.

The recorded average age when young people often start online gambling is 11 and a half years old. They often start with card-scratching raffle games—a kind of Lotto that is mixed with the excitement of raffle draws. More than 30 percent of them opted for this. Then another 30 percent opted for arcades for amusement and solid Lotto games. Card games like poker and bowling with betting was the third, having some 7 percent young participants. The last is Internet gambling with 6 percent.

But once they discover the convenience and accessibility of Internet gambling they start opting more for this. They try this more than once each week. They also use text gambling and sports betting. The usual avowed reasons for gambling are, first, mere attraction, second, an escape from problems, and third, an escape from irritability or troubles. They also say their gambling expense has increased.

It has also been recorded that underage gambling in Europe is often veiled from the family and relatives of gambling youths and a good number of them are hardly aware of their increasing addiction in the habit. Experts say this is a bad indication as such growing dependency is closely connected to addiction on cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. No one could help these youths if the habit is kept a secret.

It has been observed that as youths are exposed to casinos where cigarettes and liquor abound the trio easily lead the underage to drug addiction. Add to this the common grounds why young people are hooked on these addictions—emotional disturbance.

Underage gambling is also a major concern in Europe. More efforts should be aimed at checking the malady.