Gambling workshops are effective at helping young people to understand the industry more, according to newly-published research.
‘Prevention programmes for youth gambling: a review of the empirical evidence’, published in the academic journal, International Gambling Studies, looks at workshop-based education, and at programmes specifically designed to prevent young people from indulging in the habit.
The Canadian researchers found that both approaches are effective at raising awareness levels among youngsters, while reducing misconceptions about the industry.
However, their other findings hint that a specifically preventative approach might not be suitable in all cases, as not all young people who gamble go on to develop compulsive tendencies.
In their analysis, the researchers found that 60-80% of all adolescents (up to the age of 17) have gambled once in the past year, while 35% – more than a third – do so weekly, or more frequently than that.
Overall however, only 10-15% continue on to become problem gamblers, and just 3-8% are at high risk of becoming pathologically addicted.
The researchers argue that raising awareness of the issue in general, and of the risks of compulsive gambling, are necessary to protect young people.
However, further research involving long-term follow-ups may be needed before it is determined whether a preventative focus is any more or less successful than providing young people with a balanced viewpoint on the subject.