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Should Schools Teach On Problem Gambling? Responsible Gambling Advocates Think So

Published: August 14, 2023

It’s National Back to School Month, and many students are already back in classrooms across the country. As teachers prepare their lesson plans for the year, it’s worth asking if problem gambling education should be one of the topics covered.

Responsible gambling advocates say it’s time for it to be considered as a part of required education for high school students due to its growing relevance among teens. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, 60% to 80% of high school students report having gambled for money during the past year, and 4% to 6% of these students are at risk of problem gambling

Dan Trolaro, Vice President of prevention at EPIC Risk Management and in recovery from problem gambling, told the Associated Press in an article that gambling needs to be the next issue to address in the classroom.

“We educate very well on alcohol, on substances, on stranger danger, on cannabis,” he said. “But we don’t do anything around gambling.”

And it’s not just responsible gambling advocates who think it’s time to make a change in teen education. Teresa Svincek, a teacher at a suburban school in Maryland, said a lot of her students are “heavily into sports betting” and poker games.

“They laugh at losing hundreds of dollars over a weekend,” she told the Associated Press. “When I was their age, I was busy working to earn money, and losing what they lose over a weekend was what I made in a month. I think these kids are the future tip of the iceberg.”

What can parents and educators do to ensure students are learning about the signs and risks of gambling? A great place to start is visiting Change The Game Ohio, an initiative focused on preventing youth gambling. Change the Game Ohio contains a wide variety of resources that you can use to begin a discussion with the children in your life about the dangers of youth gambling.

These resources include:

  • Gambling fact sheets for educators that help you spot the difference between gaming and gambling.
  • School policy ideas and advice that include blocking online gambling sites on school servers and more. 
  • A handout on the warning signs of student gambling, which include a drop in grades and withdrawing from friends.
  • A classroom presentation and student worksheets so they can play an active role in learning about the risks of youth gambling. 

To learn more about the dangers of youth gambling in and out of the classroom, please visit

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