Exploring The Surge of Underage Online Sports Betting

Exploring The Surge of Underage Online Sports Betting
Graphic by Ana Murguia

Online gambling platforms have become increasingly more accessible to high school students in recent years. The allure of betting, more specifically sports betting, has gripped the minds of many young adults who are fueled by the boom in gambling culture online. 

Behind the flashy advertisements and the promise of quick wins lies a reality for underage gamblers that may spiral out of control in their future. As the adrenaline rush of this phenomenon takes hold of the developing minds of children, what could start out as betting a few dollars on a football game may have the capability to turn into something far more serious.

According to the National Institute of Health, between 4 and 8 percent of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 have a very serious gambling problem, while another 10 to 15 percent are at risk for developing a gambling problem.

A sophomore at Tamalpais High School, who asked to remain anonymous due to the illegal nature of underage sports betting, gave his insight on how he got involved in online betting. 

“I started a few months ago because a bunch of my friends were doing it and it seemed like a pretty easy way to make money,” he said. “The first ever bet I made I won really big and that sort of hooked me in and ever since then I just kept on betting.”

Not only does underage sports betting cause a threat to the gambling students themselves, but it also has the potential to hurt the parents who may or may not know about what their children are doing. 

According to the University of Michigan’s National Poll on Children’s Health, one in six parents think they would probably not know if their teen was betting online. 

“My parents are aware of me sports betting but they’re okay with it as long as I keep winning and keep profiting,” the sophomore said.

Furthermore, some of the most popular betting sites such as Prize Picks, Underdog Fantasy, or Sleeper, require a minimum age of eighteen years old, which brings up a multitude of questions: how can students bypass the age limit that is set up on these sites? Are they identifying as their parents or other older relatives to sports bet?

David Buchanon, a local basketball trainer, gave his insight on why sports betting should require stricter rules to enter online. 

“A lot of the kids that I work with sports bet, and they talk about it all the time,” he said. “I try to tell them that it’s all fun and games until you start losing your money, and for kids, that’s probably not a lot.” 

Sports betting has become prevalent among younger students looking for a quick profit and a boost in entertainment. While some may consistently profit, it still causes a serious threat to children whose minds are constantly developing.

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About the Contributor
Lucas Norris-Icho
Lucas Norris-Icho, Reporter and Design/Social Media Editor
Lucas Norris-Icho is a junior at Tamalpais High School. He is a reporter and a design and social media editor for The Tam News. When he is not writing, he likes to play basketball, cook, and play cards. 

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