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Internet Gambling Grows Among Male Youth Ages 18 to 22; Gambling Also Increases in High School Age Female Youth, According to National Annenberg Survey of Youth

Despite efforts by the federal government to impose restrictions on Internet gambling, college age youth are visiting online gambling sites at a growing rate, according to the latest National Annenberg Survey of Youth (NASY). Compared to the last survey conducted in 2008, monthly use of Internet gambling sites shot up this year from 4.4% to 16.0% in college age male youth (see Table 1 below). Nevertheless, use of the Internet for gambling did not increase on a weekly basis in this age group, staying at about 3% (see Table 2 below).
High school age male youth exhibited only a small and statistically insignificant increase in monthly use of Internet gambling sites (from 2.7% to 6.2%). Weekly use of Internet gambling sites was virtually nonexistent among high school age males in the survey.
"The dramatic increase in use of online gambling by college age male youth indicates that payment restrictions on such sites are no longer a barrier to young people" said Dan Romer, director of the Annenberg Adolescent Communication Institute that conducts the annual survey. Projected on a national basis, more than 400,000 male youth in the college age range (18 to 22) gamble for money at least once a week on the Internet, and over 1.7 million do so at least once a month. Rates among high school age males are much lower but still significant with over 530,000 visiting gambling sites per month.
While it appears that most of the online gambling reported by young people is devoted to card playing, it is also likely that some of it involves betting on other outcomes. Some of the gambling sites that respondents mentioned visiting were horseracing sites, which are legal under current laws. "Young people must surely be confused by the inconsistent messages sent by our conflicting laws regarding online gambling," noted Romer. "Why someone should be allowed to bet on a horse race but not a card game or other sports event is not altogether obvious."