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Feb 19, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

The dangers of gambling

Brant News

J.P. Antonacci BRANT NEWS College and university can be a time of intellectual and personal growth, but campuses are also danger zones for young people who can't resist the allure of making a fast buck at the slot machine or online poker table. Members of the Responsible Gaming Council recently stopped by Mohawk College to talk to students about the dangers of gambling and promote a youth-focused awareness program called "Know the Score." “The myth of easy money is a draw for this age group, who are often away from home and managing their own money for the first time,” said Barry Koen-Butt, director of awareness programs with the Responsible Gaming Council, a non-profit organization that combats problem gambling. Gambling among youth aged 18 to 24 is on the rise, whether online, in gaming houses or placing bets on sporting events. “These young people – who may have a tendency to be risk takers – are often influenced by their social circle,” Koen-Butt said. Using social media, displays in high-traffic areas on campus and visits to post-secondary schools, Know the Score representatives educate students about the signs and consequences of problem gambling, as well as where they can get help. “I've heard from students who have had friends gamble to make tuition," said Know the Score program representative Dani Ayee. "They end up losing everything and they need to leave school.” Whether because of boredom, peer pressure or financial need, some students turn to gambling and end up draining their rent and tuition budgets and skipping class to gamble. Lying about their gambling problem and the resultant debts can isolate young people from their friends and families. Ayee advises youth who do choose to gamble to take a predetermined amount of money and give themselves a time limit.
Having a casino in a community does not necessarily mean youth gambling will spike, Ayee said. “I don't think that it would be an added risk,” she said. “There are ways to gamble responsibly, but it's up to each individual person to make their own responsible decisions.” For tips on how to gamble responsibly and avoid the pitfalls of problem gambling, visit www.kts2.ca.

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