Gambling Study Recommends Gambling Prevention Efforts Target Boys Younger than 8th Grade Level

Brady Smith, KCRG-TV9

IOWA CITY, Iowa - A University of Iowa research group says more gambling prevention efforts should be targeting boys younger than 8th grade. The report surveyed nearly 70,000 6th, 8th, and 11th graders across the state of Iowa. It says gambling or betting is more prevalent among young males, than females. The research was done by the Iowa Consortium on Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation.

The report states young males are more than twice as likely to have tried gambling or betting, than females. It also shows gambling increases with males as they get older.

Of the students surveyed, they were asked if they’d ever bet money or possessions, or gambled. 26.7% admitted to doing that at least once.

It also shows that among 6th, 8th, and 11th graders, the gambling or betting rate was more than 38% among males, while only 14.4% percent of females admitted to gambling.

However, Deb Prier, treatment supervisor for the Substance Abuse Service Center in Dubuque, said they still see plenty of females who admit gambling addiction later in life.

“Our population for treatment is pretty much split 50/50, between male and female. But our females are still talking about their teenage years,” Prier said. “Most of them can pinpoint it back to usually their teenage years, but they say that they started playing cards with parents.”

Prier said it’s not surprising that in the report, there seems to be no connection between an adolescent having gambled, and the presence of a casino in the county they live in. That’s because cards and betting games like bingo can take place in any home, anywhere. The study also found gambling behavior closely linked to an adolescent having tried alcohol, tobacco or some sort of controlled substance.

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