Pathways to Excessive Gambling – Are Young People’s Approach to Gambling an Indication of Future Gambling Propensity?
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The emphasis on achievements in everyday life on social status and monetary wealth encourages exploration of alternative earnings. Although social recreational gambling for most people is a leisure activity with family, friends and work colleagues, for a group of people the social recreational attributes have become distorted by their absolute quest for winning. Children are introduced to gambling by their parents and participate in gambling pursuits well before their legal age. Two Australian research samples are analysed, a youth sample and an adult sample. The youth sample includes 751 high school students, and explores young people’s gambling propensity, attitudes to gambling and reactions to losing money. The adult sample, based on 21 case studies, assesses pathways to excessive gambling. The paper explores whether or not early contact with recreational gambling together with family and friends creates an environment conducive to future gambling problems. The research shows that the adults’ gambling had gradually changed from a social recreational activity to an isolating, gambling focused act. This trend was present already among a group of young people, thus social indicators can be identified at an early stage among young people in their gambling propensity, however, the social indicators can also indicate further personal and social problems as excessive gamblers often present a combination of personal, social and emotional problems.
KeywordsYoung people Youth gambling Problem gambling Gambling pathways Family entertainment Social inclusion
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