Concern over number of young gamblers in Singapore

It has been reported in Singapore, that there is a growing concern over the number of young gamblers who are gambling in casinos, as well as online.

Young teenagers are playing slot machines and participating in sports betting by using their pocket money for funds.  Youth gamblers have attracted concern after a recently released survey by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) found more addicts are starting young.

The survey found that nearly one in six hardcore addicts who have a flutter at least once a week did so before they turned 18. This is concerning as studies show that youth are up to four times more likely than adults to become addicted to gambling.

Councilors and specialists say gambling addicts are getting younger as social norms shift. Children are also looking to parents to bail them out when they are in debt with gambling. Parents help their children with debt as the stigma reflects badly on their parenting skills if they don’t.

This growing interest is also linked to the growing popularity of free online social gambling games. NCPG chairman Lim Hock San said that early exposure to online games make youth vulnerable to becoming addicted to gambling, especially online gambling.

Some online games do not require real currency, but allow players to buy virtual currency in order to advance in the game. “Such games are increasing the tendency of youth to try out online gambling later and we have been fielding 30 per cent more enquiries about online gambling in the past year,” said Mr. Chong Ee Jay, assistant manager at Touch Cyber Wellness.

With social media so prominent in this day and age, it is easy for teenagers to gain access to knowledge about the world of online gaming and find sites to do so.

It was suggested that parents do not pay off the children’s gambling debts, as this will teach them to be careful with online gambling. If parents continue to help their children, it will only make the problem worse.

While gambling can be an enjoyable pastime for adults, it is not something which people under the age of 18 should participate in. Most websites will tend to be quite strict when it comes to who they allow in, but it is still a parent’s duty to monitor kids and make sure that they don’t build up a debt which will land them in trouble.