Myths and reality

International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors

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Parents | Myths and reality

Myths and reality of gambling

Myth: Teenagers can't develop gambling problems.


Approximately 4-6% of high school students have a serious gambling problem, and another 10-14% are considered at risk for gambling problems.

Myth: Lottery tickets are not a major concern with respect to problem gambling.


Lottery products are, by law, restricted to adults because it has been recognized that they may be a gateway to more problematic forms of gambling.

Myth: Teens experiencing gambling problems most often come from underprivileged and unsupervised families.


Problem gamblers come from all different backgrounds, cultures, and families.

Myth: Drug or alcohol addictions are more severe than gambling addictions.


Gambling addictions are as severe and problematic as substance addictions, and the consequences can be just as devastating for teenagers and their family members.

Myth: Playing card games without money with your children might cause later gambling problems.


Playing card games with children can teach them that this activity is fun without wagering money. However, it is important to discourage playing for money until they have the maturity and cognitive capacity to understand how to set and maintain both time and money limits.

Myth: Most gamblers are introduced to gambling by their friends.


Most gamblers are introduced to gambling by a parent or an adult close to them, often as young as 10 or 11 years of age.

Myth: Kids playing poker in the home are not at risk of developing gambling problems.


For the vast majority of teens, playing poker will not lead to problem gambling. But for a select few, this activity could very well trigger a gambling problem. Monitor your child's behaviour and discourage them from playing for money.