Gambling for Kids? There May Be an App for That.

Whether you’re flinging angry birds or setting personal budgets, there’s no question that smartphone and tablet apps can add entertainment and organization to our lives. Now, though, experts are warning parents about game apps with the potential to introduce children to gambling. Some of these apps are based on traditional casino games, such as poker, blackjack, or slots. Others are social media-based games that add wagering to the mix.

Juniper Research estimates mobile gambling will develop into a worldwide $100 billion industry by 2017, according to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek. Online gambling has not been legal in the U.S., but, the article notes, many states are expected to legalize it over the next few years.

In the meantime, app designers offer American players legal gambling-type games that use “play” money instead of real.  While these “play” money games seem like no big deal, the apps are still teaching youth the in’s and out’s of wagering. Studies suggest that kids who gamble early in life are at higher risk for developing severe gambling problems as adults—making these games a risky bet because they may groom kids for later addiction.

Designers assert that their products are intended only for those 18 or older, but there are few checks in place to ensure that kids don’t play. It’s up to parents and caregivers, then, to monitor which apps children use.

No doubt, there are some who might think, Come on, a few games of poker never hurt a kid. While it’s true that many adults are able to enjoy gambling as a recreational game, some will develop gambling addictions that have profound, lasting effects on their lives, relationships, and careers. Before allowing a child to play gambling-type apps, consider these statistics:

For info about how to talk to a teenager about gambling, check out Teen Gambling – 3 Talking Points Parents Need to Know.

If you’d like information about helping youth make smart decisions regarding gambling or need to find help for a child with a problem, contact Compass Mark at (717) 299-2831. Our team provides confidential, judgment-free guidance for families in Lebanon and Lancaster, PA.

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3 thoughts on “Gambling for Kids? There May Be an App for That.

  1. Great information, something to think about. May seem like a fun and harmless idea at the time but create a problem later.

  2. Pingback: Blog :: SafeStakes