A recent study from the Society for Truth and Light and Shue University in Hong Kong found that teenagers are at a higher risk of developing online gambling addictions. The new study may prompt the need for stricter regulations to keep minors from accessing online gaming sites. The study confirms findings from Canada based Trulioo and other consumer advocacy groups throughout the world.
The Hong Kong poll shows that one in four teenagers have illegally used an online gaming site. The study also showed that people that gambled over the Internet as teenagers were more likely to develop addictions as adults.
A study from Trulioo found that underage players were 200% more likely to develop online gambling addictions. The Trulioo report said that the consequences of these addictions tend to be more serious for minors. Underage gambling addicts are more likely to suffer from insomnia and develop relationship problems.
The research cites several reasons that youths are more likely to become addicted gamblers. Minors have underdeveloped prefrontal cortexes, which impairs their ability to control impulses. Increased ownership of mobile devices has also contributed to the problem. Teenagers tend to spend a lot more time on these devices than adults, so they are also more likely to give into the urge to gamble on them.
Policy makers throughout the world have raised concerns about legalizing online gambling, because they fear it could encourage more minors to gamble. However, newer research has shown that prohibition hasn’t kept minors from accessing illegal gaming sites. Lawmakers and regulated gaming providers will need to consider new solutions to prevent underage citizens from becoming addicted to online gambling.