Monday, October 2, 2023

Online gambling among teenagers is increasing and they warn about the risk of addiction

Photo By Eliana Obregn

Secret online betting among high school students is increasing, according to institutions and young people themselves, mostly men, who assured Télam that it is a “harmful” activity, while specialists warn about the risks of developing a gambling addiction and send signals to families.

“I play for fun. Aside from that.” I don’t put in much, it’s a thousand pesos a week and I see my luck“ Ignacio, who lives in the Floresta district of Buenos Aires and is in his final year of high school, said Télam.

“Before It didn’t grab my attention that much, but now it’s addictive like any game“ added the young man, who places bets on the Casino Zeus website through the account that a “cashier” created for him.

Come on “Cashier” Son People who charge their customers for betting chips after receiving the money transfer which is usually carried out via Mercado Pago.

Usually girls and boys Contact cashier via WhatsApp on the recommendation of friends and, how From the age of 13 you can own virtual wallets makes it easier to access betting on online casino sites with slot machine-like games.

Live roulette, poker and football betting These are other services that promote ATMs on social networks to ensure that they are “100% reliable” and pay “instantly”, even if they are not authorized.

I bet every two weeks or so. “It’s fun when you do it every now and then and win,” said 18-year-old Santos, who started betting when he was 17 because he had “a lot of friends” who did it.

Illustrator Blasberg

Illustration: Blasberg.

“The advantages are that you can achieve them Earn lots of money from the comfort of your home, and the disadvantages are that sometimes you don’t have control over yourself and you lose a lot more than you win. If you bet again, your winnings will be lost“ added the young man from the San Fernando party, north of the suburbs of Buenos Aires He uses part of his salary from his first job to gamble.

For her part, Catalina said that she sees her classmates playing online as a way to have fun: “During the break the children meet, bet on football and compete with each other.”

Referring to these experiences, Alberto Álvarez, psychiatrist of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association (APA), assured that “puberty is a very important moment of transition and there are ways to get around it, for example by joining groups.”

“An example could be betting because it is also a group thing and has become fashionable,” he said, pointing out that the risks exist lack of control and increased impulsivity which could lead to gambling addiction.

In the same vein, psychiatrist Verónica Mora Dubuc explained that the habitual use of these sites “can have serious effects on behavioral conditioning, so that the person cannot stop thinking about the next bet,” explaining that the game “It shouldn’t go to anyone under 18 because it’s illegal.”

There is no national gambling law in Argentina, so regulation is subject to each jurisdiction.

There is no national gambling law in Argentina, so regulation is subject to each jurisdiction.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many provinces have moved forward with regulating online gambling and all official websites run the domain

However, according to the Argentine State Lotteries Association, an estimated 80% of online sites are illegal.

Teens interviewed by Télam agreed that online gambling is still “not a massive phenomenon among students,” but all said they knew someone who gambled.

“The majority are boys and this happens not only in the upper grades, but also with the first graders.” They spend the money their parents give them for food on these bets” said Télam Ailen, spokesman for the student center of a school in Buenos Aires.

The situation is repeating itself in different parts of the country. In Rosario, a school found that the Wi-Fi went down because children were entering gambling sites.

According to the Argentine State Lottery Association, an estimated 80% of online sites are illegal

Some public and private schools in the city and province of Buenos Aires also sent notices to families warning of the increase in this activity in classrooms.

“It was discussed in the parent groups because we were very surprised and we also talked to our children,” the mother of a teenager who received the notice from one of the institutions told this agency.

Although the majority of bettors are men, there are also cases of girls like Agustina, who attends high school in the Mataderos district of Buenos Aires.

“I only made a profit once. The problem is that you get caught up in the idea of ​​playing more to see if you win said the teenager, who stopped betting because “it meant losing money.”

“I also wanted to play all the time to see if I was lucky. It’s like any vice: once you’re in it, it’s hard to get out.” he warned.

To assess the problem, Télam consulted various provincial education ministries and the Ministry of Buenos Aires, but all agreed that they had neither received requests from the accompanying schools nor identified corresponding situations.

Juan Gossen, for his part, warned against this One problem when dealing with online betting is that “there are no statistics that show us whether there are really more problematic cases.”

However, it seems to be becoming increasingly difficult for children to resist “trying their luck” as betting websites sponsor football clubs and influencers and streamers promoting gaming platforms become increasingly popular.

For Azul, another student, the bets are attractive because “you can put in a few mangoes and get a lot more.”

“There is no place where you can get this money so easily, and even more so knowing that we are exposed to many irregularities at a young age.” said.

Warning, prevention and information signs

Among prevention measures, experts emphasized the importance of accessing information about risks and promoting dialogue between families.

Regarding the warning signs, Álvarez emphasized that we must pay attention to the number of hours children spend betting and control the money they spend.

Meanwhile, Dubuc suggested paying attention to behavioral changes, saying young people often “stop other activities” or exhibit “mood changes with higher levels of tension and irritability.”

“If we see a problem, it is best to seek advice from a gambling problem expert or at least talk to the pediatrician,” he added.

In Argentina, gambling addiction treatment is free according to Law No. 26,934. To know the telephone hotlines of each province, you can visit the official website

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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