Addicted teens become addicted adults

The addictive habits formed in adolescence means teens are rolling the dice after high school, too.

And the thought of teens raising the stakes is “shocking on one side, and not surprising on the other,” said Dr. Michael Wohl, associate professor of psychology at Carleton University.

Wohl said 25% of first-year students at Carleton have some symptoms of problem gambling, and it’s due in part to its legalization.

“It’s sold to them as a sport,” Wohl said, and if you turn on TSN or Sportsnet, you’ll see poker sandwiched between hockey highlights.

And since it’s often viewed as a sport, most young people don’t see it as gambling.

“They say they have some sort of skill that enables them to win,” he said.

And like any behaviour, there’s a learned aspect to laying money on the line.

“If they’re exposed to a family in which the mother or father or both are buying lottery tickets, there’s a chance the children may do the same because it becomes normative in the family.”

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