Michigan regulator provides tips to prevent minors from gambling

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TheMichigan Gaming Control Board is seeking to combat possible issues with minors and young-age online gambling, recommending parents intervene and educate on the matter in the “tween” years. This move is based on the fact that seven out of ten students, ages 14-19, will wager on poker and other games this year. 

Henry Williams, executive director of the MGCB, is calling on parents to discuss responsible gaming with their children before they attend high school. 

“National studies have shown young people gamble in betting pools, while on the basketball court sidelines and on video games or even try to do so online or at a casino,” he noted. 

“As a parent and a former social worker, I know how important it is for parents to look for signs of problem behaviors and to take an active role in educating children to understand the consequences of their behavior,” he added.

In the interest of helping combat potential issues with online gambling, parents can use tools like parental controls on electronic devices. It is also wise to prevent possible misuse by not leaving stored credit card and personal ID information on devices shared by younger family members or in other places where youngsters can have easy access. Families can also create a central space where electronic devices are used under parental supervision. 

Studies show anywhere from 2% to 7% of young people experience a gambling problem, according to theInternational Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG). The organization estimates 6% to 15% of youth have gambling problems that are less severe. The ICRG says the rate of gambling problems among youth has remained fairly steady during the past 25 years.

Experts saywarning signs can be similar to those for other addictive behaviors such as low mood, anxiety, stealing money and appearing preoccupied. ICRG suggests a series of steps to help youth avoid risky behavior, including early guidance and conversation on the topic, provided that children often begin gambling during elementary school.

Listening is also important, as it helps create an open environment. As an adult, it is detrimental to have education on the subject, to pass it along to children. Learning about Michigan laws regulating casino gaming, internet gaming, internet sports betting and fantasy sports is key, highlights the MGCB.

"Knowing normal behaviors is important as adolescents are impulsive and like to take risks," the ICRG noted. "They focus on the here and now instead of the long-term consequences." Setting rules helps to create consistent and reasonable groundwork. Staying involved and monitoring activities also contribute to preventing problem gambling. 

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