THE PROBLEM OF YOUTH GAMBLING


There are several definitions for the word “gambling”. One of them says the activity is the playing of “games of chance for money”. Another talks of the taking of “risky action in the hope of a desired result.”Another states that “gambling involves risking something of value or an uncertain event in hopes of winning something of greater value.”

From the above explanations, I retain four cardinal points: chance, money, uncertainty and risk. Obviously, these are the words that make gambling what it is. As if that was not enough, there is, to boot, an aphorism that “ who risks nothing, gains nothing.” That means that the temptation to keep gambling is always there in the wait. Well, such an assertion is hardly surprising because it has also been affirmed that gambling is a poor man`s thing because the poor man stakes the little money he has in the hope of earning more, when he gambles. But since the tendency in gambling is to loose rather than win, the poor man keeps losing in the hope that his luck is just round the corner. For that reason, he ends up by having less and less money and becomes poorer and poorer.

Although the problem of gambling as it affects young people may be cause for concern because the tendency is generally for them to gamble more than adults, Canadian youth have in recent times attracted some particular attention through a study carried out by the McGill University International Center for Youth Gambling in that country.

According to the source whose work was recently reported in Awake magazine, “more than half of Canadian youngsters aged 12-17 are considered recreational gamblers, 10-15 are at risk for developing a severe problem and 4-6 per cent are considered as `pathological gamblers`”

The study notes that the problem often begins when early in childhood children are offered “lottery tickets as gifts” or they “use internet to bet online”. The magazine concludes that as a result, “more Canadian teenagers now engage in gambling than other addictive behaviours such as smoking and drug abuse.”

However, looking beyond the above study, one can see further implications in the issue. Firstly the danger and temptation posed by guns as gifts to such young people is also a reality. This is because in both cases, it is difficult to imagine that the youths will not in the end use the so-called gifts to their own detriment and that of society at large.

Another area of temptation youngsters nowadays face on an increasing basis is that offered by internet which in a way is a whole world of its own that is as large as it is uncontrollable. Free access to internet has been known to push youths into pornography and cyber crimes such as scamming.

Surely it is in the interest of parents to put in place the necessary checks and balances and for the school milieu as well as other social settings such as the church and village or town groups to equally be on the all-time alert. If these measures are not taken, youths are bound to descend into hell, so to speak, not just because of gambling but also because of all the other social loopholes that now abound everywhere.

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