Teen Poker - Know When to Fold’em: Warning Signs of a Teen Gambling Problem

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With the astounding popularity of poker for American teens comes the news that teens are at 2-3 times the risk of adults for developing a gambling problem. Recognizing the signs of a gambling problem in a young person has never been more important.

Fueled by the allure of televised poker tournaments with $5 million payouts, teens are organizing their own poker games with winning pots ranging from a few coins to hundreds of dollars. Parents, teens and educators need to know that teens are at 2-3 times the risk of adults for developing a gambling problem and how to recognize signs that a teen may be on the rocky road to a gambling addiction.

According to Elizabeth George, director, North American Training Institute, a Minnesota-based educational institute that specializes in youth and gambling addiction, “It is important for parents and teachers to know the signs of their child or a student developing an addiction to gambling. With the escalation of teens playing poker, public awareness and education about gambling problems is the key to wise decision-making for parents – and teens.”

An addiction to gambling is often called the hidden addiction because, unlike alcohol or drug problems, there are few observable signs. To assist teens, as well as parents and educators identify signs of a gambling problem, the NATI has developed a list of questions. They include:

•    Do you prevent your family and friends from knowing how much you play poker?

•    Do you play poker with money that is supposed to be used for other reasons like lunches, clothing, car insurance or saving for college?

•    Do you often gamble longer than you wanted to and lose more money than you intended?

•    Is poker the main source of what you do to feel good about yourself?

•    Do you ever lie about whether you play poker or how much you lose?

•    Do you miss school or other important events due to gambling?

•    Have you ever stolen money or property in order to play poker or pay gambling debts?

For the complete list of Questions About Teens & Poker, visit http://www.nati.org - click on Teens & Poker.

George states, “Knowing the signs of a gambling problem is the first step in prevention and early detection of a serious gambling addiction.”

Further contact information:

Elizabeth M. George, Director

North American Training Institute

314 West Superior Street, Ste. 702

Duluth, MN 55802


(fax) 218 722-0346

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