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"Underage Gamblers Test School Restrictions"
By: Allison Skare
Oak Park High School, Kansas City, MO

In high school, the feeling of taking a risk can occur everyday. For some, it can be a gamble to get to school on time, after waking up late or not studying for a test and risking the outcome of the grade. Usually if thought out, those everyday risks can be in our favor.

However, not all risks are under our control. There are people out there who actually get a rush from the stress of not being in control of the risks they take.

Betting on what happens over one result toward another can have its advantages. It can be a reward for taking a chance with a gut feeling when gaining something from nothing. For some, it is easier to focus on pure luck than to actually work for a living. Others see it as just another competition. Gambling relies on the intensity of a cause and effect game.

While casinos are the adult playground of society, it is hard to believe such an immoral pastime could have any restrictions. Although money and liquor are not an object, age is. Underage gambling is a serious crime and is not taken lightly.

When first thinking of underage gambling, sneaking into casinos comes to mind. Surprisingly, this is not where underage gambling starts.

Through sports scores and poker nights, it is estimated that most gambling addicts began as young as 10 years old. According to cbsnews.com, more than 30 percent of all high school students gamble periodically. The survey also concludes that those who gamble are much more likely to drink, smoke, and do illegal drugs.

Gambling is not limited to playing games for money. Most of the underage gambling in high school is linked to sports. As more students follow the basketball tournament to March, little do they know such activities are illegal, especially on school grounds.

It is apparent underage gambling is a problem, but what we as society can do about is another. How do you show how serious a problem gambling is? Start by taking it seriously in the first place. Let's include it in the ritual freshman health class, along with teaching abstinence and STDs, or have a field trip to a casino, showing the effects of a gambling addiction on adults later in life.

Whatever the solution, the awareness needs to be raised. Underage gambling is out there, how are we going to fix it?

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Compulsive gambling is a behavior disorder in which an individual has an uncontrollable preoccupation and urge to gamble. This results in excessive gambling, the outcome of which is loss of time and money.

The gambling reaches the point at which it compromises, disrupts or destroys the gambler's personal life, family relationships or vocational pursuits. The key signs are emotional dependence on gambling, loss of control and interference with normal functioning.