Kids Don't Gamble...Wanna Bet? Popularity of Teen Gambling Increases as Prevention Messages Lag

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With the astounding popularity of poker and other forms of gambling for American youth comes the news that teens are at 2-3 times the risk of adults for developing a gambling addiction. Establishing gambling prevention and educational programs for teens has never been more important.

Children of gambling-addicted parents are silently suffering. While there is education about parental addiction to drugs and alcohol, children of gambling-addicted parents remain confused and uncertain about why their family is in chaos.

Fueled by the allure of televised poker tournaments with millions of dollars in payouts and celebrity status for winners, teens are organizing their own poker games and other betting activities in record number.

Unfortunately, youth are at an elevated risk for the development of a gambling addiction according to published research from the US and Canada. A few schools and parents are now beginning to wise up to the notion that kids and gambling - like kids and smoking, drinking or drugs - is a bad combination. Schools and after-school programs are just now beginning to integrate youth gambling prevention programs - such as the curriculum, Kids Don't Gamble…Wanna Bet?-into their school curriculum. This popular program teaches probabilities, odds and myths about gambling through age-appropriate, cartoon formatted learning methods.http://www.nati.org

According to Elizabeth M. George, chief executive officer of the Minnesota-based North American Training Institute, " It is important for parents and teachers to know the symptoms of an addiction to gambling. Because a gambling addiction is called the 'hidden' addiction - there are no needle marks, slurred speech, or stumbling gait. Many parents believe they have finally found something for their teen to do that is fun and harmless and they will enthusiastically support school-sponsored 'casino nights' at their school."

With the escalation of teen's interest in gambling, the implementation of prevention curricula, public awareness and education about gambling problems is the key to wise decision making for parents, teachers and teens.

Children whose parent has a gambling problem are also in need of services. The North American Training Institute's new educational guide, My Parent Has a Gambling Problem…HEY! What About Me? offers counselors and other kid-helpers ways to help children understand and cope with their parent's addiction. " Children of gambling-addicted parents are silently suffering. While there is education about parental addiction to drugs and alcohol, children of gambling-addicted parents remain confused and uncertain about why their family is in chaos." George states.

The North American Training Institute has provided education and training on gambling addiction since 1990. NATI co-convened the North American Think Tank on Youth Gambling Issues with Harvard Medical School, Division on Addiction, and staff have provided expert testimony to the National Gambling Impact Commission. For additional information on teen gambling prevention and other gambling addiction information, please contact Elizabeth M. George, CEO, North American Training or visit the NATI website at http://www.nati.org.

Contact:
Elizabeth M. George, chief executive officer
North American Training Institute
314 West Superior St., Ste 508
Duluth, MN 55802

218-722-1503
888-989-9234
http://www.nati.org

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