High Stakes for High School Students: Do you think kids should learn about gambling?

Despite the fact that the legal age range for gambling is between 18 and 21, 60–80% of high school students reported having wagered money in the previous year, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling.

One of the winning entries in the Command Education-sponsored New York Post Scholars Contest is this article.

“Tonight, take Syracuse minus 7, and thank me later.”

“Allow me to prepare this parlay!”

These are actual statements made by children as young as the ninth grade that I have heard in the hallways of my high school.

Every teenage sports bettor hopes to strike it rich with a parlay that lasts longer than a millipede, but they never stop to consider the many hazards involved.

When they wager money on whether Jalen Brunson will score more than 28.5 points or if Aaron Judge will smash a home run, they are also risking their future proclivities.

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Despite the fact that the legal age range for gambling is between 18 and 21, 60–80% of high school students reported having wagered money in the previous year, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling.

High school students “have twice the rate of gambling problems as adults,” according to their report.

Currently, 38 states and Washington, D.C. allow sports betting; however, high school kids can now participate in the action thanks to the legalization of internet betting companies. Even as a minor in high school, you won’t have to go far to locate a location to place a wager because 30 states (along with the nation’s capital) now permit you to do so easily.

With any of these apps, making an account is now simpler than ever. In theory, it is true that you must be over the age of 18 (or 21), but even if identity verification is necessary, teenagers manage to open accounts that allow them to withdraw actual money.

There is no end to what the software can do to you once it has an account in your name, genuine or fake.

Ads for various sports betting websites are always there when watching any athletic event. DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook, Bet MGM, Bet 365, ESPN Bet, Fanatics Sportsbook, Fliff—the list goes on and on.

The League of Legends Esports, how about it?

Betting on something so esoteric may be a sign of addiction, and the answer to the preceding question is often, far more often than not, “yes,” from the impetuous, underdeveloped young brain.

Approximately 1% of Americans struggle with an addiction to gambling, according to Yale Medicine. But “a lot of gambling disorders start in adolescence,” and the prevalence of addiction in young people rises to 2-7%.

That’s not the point, though; even placing a wager on a sport, team, or player you know inside and out could have serious consequences and cost you money.

Sports gambling in high school is an epidemic rather than an issue. Whether they realize it or not, students are betting against themselves when they gamble, and this needs to be addressed.

It’s time for educational institutions to put more emphasis on the underlying causes of teenage internet sports gambling by requiring gambling prevention classes in every high school. National health class curricula address common teen health concerns like drinking, smoking, and vaping, but there is no mention of gambling education in our classrooms.

Despite the astounding number of underage users, which is only increasing, sports gambling does not currently provide teens with the education and information they need to change their ways. While similar proposals in other states have stagnated, a bill intended to include gambling addiction education in the classroom was easily passed by the Virginia Senate in 2022.

Marijuana and other illegal substances used by minors are sometimes referred to as “gateway drugs,” since they cause reliance on heavier narcotics. With one specific app called Fliff, high school sports gambling groups have witnessed exactly the same situation. As a “free-to-play social sportsbook,” the software bills itself as giving users the ability to “predict sports as a play-for-fun game.”

Matt Ricci, the CEO of Fliff, refers to his business as a “introductory tool” for people who are interested in sports betting. I don’t know of anything that sounds more like a gateway than this.

Unaware of the app, underage sports bettors swarm to it. They regard it as just another means of expressing their unadulterated excitement in being sports fans. However, no.

It’s possible that many high school students are unconsciously developing a gambling addiction to the point where, as one 11th grader put it, “it [Fliff] is the most used app on my phone.”

Whether it’s “free-to-play” or “play-for-fun,” this is a roller coaster that is entering that “gate” at top speed. The same previously free bets will soon have large dollar values on “real” betting applications, adolescents won’t even realize it. Despite the fact that this is a very dangerous development, there is little to no mention of it in schools.

Being a major Knicks fan, I love that MSG Network has a whole section devoted to betting, which is supported by FanDuel. The audience is presented with a plethora of sports betting promos throughout the commercial breaks of the game. Some, such as Bet 365, give live in-game betting odds, while others offer “no sweat first bets” in an attempt to get you to wager real money.

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A “BetCast” is also available on one of the network’s secondary channels. This matrix is unbreakable, particularly for someone who loves high school athletics and is often enticed.

I think I’m one of the few sports enthusiasts that doesn’t wager. Even though I watch for the love of the game and am a tremendous supporter of my New York teams, I often find myself checking the odds. It takes awareness and knowledge to avert a possible issue before it arises. When gambling education is put into place, we may exclaim “Let’s Go Knicks!” again rather than “I hope my parlay hits.”