A New Age for Gambling Addiction

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The horror stories of gambling are common knowledge. Throughout the various tales known as urban legends, exist numerous accounts of those who have fallen to the ill nature of gambling; the man who gambled his life savings away and then committed suicide, the woman who was hit by a truck after she won the lottery, and so on. To counteract these horrors exist the tales regarding others unbelievable luck, or those who win everything they could possibly ever want and need through gambling. These tales are common knowledge, yet despite knowing the unbelievable bad luck of most, many still continue to hope and bet on the fact that one day good luck will come, and one will win big through gambling. This hope is, despite knowing the chances one has to actually win and often times, despite the money one has available to actually lose, that eventually one will win. Typically this false hope has only been concern for psychology when it becomes a problem in one’s life or becomes pathological. However of growing concern now are the addiction of gambling and the involvement of teens and college students in this addiction. So why, knowing that the odds are slim to none, is gambling becoming a problem for future adult generations? Throughout this paper I will discuss two similar articles discussing gambling addiction and the younger generations of those who are beginning to develop such addictions. Research has found that pathological gambling (gambling addiction/gambling that interferes with one’s life and goals) rates are the highest among college students (Cronce, Jessica M., Larimer, Mary E., Lostutter, Ty W. & Neighbors, Clayton, 1991). Gambling of this nature is not always done in a casino, but more often includes betting on sporting events and/or illegal poker games existing in or near a student’s community. Cronce et al. (1991) found that the motives for such high prevalence rates vary. Historically research has not focused on motives for college student gambling, but Cronce et al. (1991) argues that without such an understanding, a comprehensive approach to treatment can not be found. Throughout the research Cronce et al. (1991) summarizes that treatment approaches that are primarily “…biopsychosocial…” (those that address a possible biological, psychological and social cause) will be most helpful (p.368). That is, reasons for high prevalence rates of gambling for college students exist because college students are most likely to gamble in order to; combat boredom, to organize socially, to win money and for the excitement/risk (Cronce et al., 1991). While the results of Cronce et al. (1991) found that college students gamble for various reasons, a Time Magazine article discussed another hypothesized reason for increased rates of gambling among both adolescents and college students (Chavira/Washington, 1991). This article discusses the idea that gambling among adolescents in general, is on the rise due to the accessibility of gambling and a lack of enforcement of the rules stating that one must be of legal age in order to legally gamble. Chavira/Washington (1991) begins with explaining the tale of a beauty pageant queen who was only 17 and who accrued quite often extremely high amounts of debt in Atlantic City. Continuing, stories of adolescents plagued by bookies threatening to break their legs and so on are also told. Chavira/Washington (1991) though explains that research has found that the “…legitimization of gambling…” is what has led to the increased rates of gambling among younger generations (p. 2). That is, younger generations are growing up believing that gambling is a normal part of everyday adult life and is an appropriate form of entertainment. This legitimization of gambling and the lack of efforts to combat younger generations from gambling are what continue to lead to an increase of prevalence rates. Both of these articles, Cronce et al. (1991) and Chavira/Washington (1991),...
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