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Card Playing Down Among College-Age Youth; Internet Gambling Also Declines

Card playing for money among college-age youth (18 to 22) has declined, according to the latest National Annenberg Survey of Youth. Weekly use of the Internet for gambling also declined among this age group. Both declines are statistically significant. 

“This year’s strong drop in weekly card playing among college-age youth indicates that the fad has peaked,” said Dan Romer, director of the Annenberg survey. “The strong drop in use of Internet sites also suggests that federal legislation restricting the transfer of funds to Internet gambling sites has had its intended effect. Whether this will last remains to be seen.”

Card playing for money among college-age youth (18 to 22) has now declined to the same level reported by high school youth (ages 14 to 17). The overall percentage of male youth ages 18 to 22 who reported playing cards for money on a weekly basis dropped to 4.4 percent in 2007 from 16.3 percent in 2006 (see Table 1), a statistically significant decline. This level of gambling was not different from that reported by male high school-age youth in 2007 (5.5 percent). Card playing in high school-aged males remained at about the same level as reported in 2006 (6.6 percent).

Weekly use of the Internet for gambling among college-age youth also declined, going from 5.8 percent in 2006 to 1.5 percent in 2007, a statistically significant drop. Use of the Internet among high school-aged male youth was already very low in 2006 and did not change this year, going from 0 percent to 0.8 percent.

The decline in Internet use was not surprising in view of the passage last fall (2006) of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act by Congress. This legislation restricted banks from transferring funds to Internet gambling sites, all of which operate outside of the U.S. Many sites closed as a result. However, it was not clear whether such gambling is no longer possible. Indeed, a small percentage of male youth (1.1 percent) still report using such sites in 2007, and even female youth report some use (0.5 percent). Nevertheless, the overall declines in card playing among older youth and the restrictions on Internet use have combined to reduce the popularity of Internet gambling.