Gambling and Youth

img-gambling-youth-350-450-p-C-97Studies show the earlier a youth engages in risky behaviors, the greater the likelihood those behaviors will become a problem later.  Some of the consequences of underage gambling can include: an increased risk for developing a gambling disorder, poor academic performance, anxiety and depression, and an increased risk for substance use and abuse.  In Jackson County, 34.7% of eighth graders and 28.6% of 11th graders say they have participated in some type of gambling in the last 30 days.  Additionally, 4.1% of Jackson County 11th graders reported having ever bet or gambled more than they wanted to. 

What Can Parents or Educators Do? 

  • Start early – have open and honest conversation with youth now about gambling and other risky behaviors.
  • Listen – let them know that they can come to you and ask questions about gambling and that you will listen to them.
  • Monitor your youth, know where they are, with whom, and what activities are planned.
  • Set the example and be a good role model. If you engage in gambling, model responsible gambling behaviors like: set a dollar and time limit.
  • Help youth develop positive coping skills. Gambling for some is a form of escape when life stressors become overwhelming.
  • Educate yourself and the youth in your life about the risk of gambling. Look for opportunities to discuss the risks of gambling – when there is a news report of a jackpot win, talk about the odds and reality of winning.
  • Avoid hosting gambling-related parties or fundraising events (e.g., casino nights, raffles, 50/50 drawings) at school or other youth-serving organizations. If hosting an event, make sure information about problem gambling and where to get help is provided.
  • Establish rules and enforce them at home regarding gambling behaviors.
  • Establish school policies and procedures restricting gambling on campus.
  • Integrate problem gambling information into other prevention messaging or curriculums.
To learn more about problem gambling, go to or

Have You Heard of Loot Boxes?

Loot boxes are features in video games which may be access through gameplay, or purchased with in0game items, virtual currencies, or directly with real-world money purchasable and have a chance-based outcome. Emerging research suggests loot boxes may cause harm similar to gambling and have the potential to be addictive. Buying loot boxes can seem ‘exciting’ or seem necessary to progress in a game. Youth may not realize they are spending real money or be aware that small purchases can add up. Research also shows that exposure to loot boxes can affect a young person’s likelihood of experiencing gambling harm later in life.

Are Youth Exposed to Loot Boxes?
The short answer is most likely ‘yes’. If your child is one of the 93% of adolescents and young people who played at least one video game containing loot boxes in the last 12 months, they may be one of the 69% who opened a loot box.

Tips to Prevent Youth Safe from Loot Boxes
  • Do not link a credit card to your child's gaming accounts
  • Unlink your credit card from your child's gaming account
  • Utilize parent controls
  • Disable in-app purchases
  • Set up passwords for in-app purchases
  • Limit the time your child is allowed to play video games with loot boxes

  1. Center for Health and Safety Culture. (2019). Oregon Problem Gambling Survey on Guidelines. Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana (n=734)   
  2. Oregon Health Authority. Adolescents and Problem Gambling. 2019. Retrieved on February 3, 2020
  3. Oregon Health Authority. 2018 Oregon Student Wellness Survey. Jackson County.
  4. Primi C, Sanson F, Vecchiato M, Serra E, Donati MA. Loot boxes use, video gaming, and gambling in adolescents: Results from a path analysis before and during COVID-19-pandemic-related lockdown in Italy. Front Psychol. 2022;13:1009129. Published 2022 Sep 27. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.1009129