As a freshman at the
University of North Texas, Daniel Folmer would sometimes play
video games for 12 hours straight. He stopped going out with
friends. He sank into academic probation.
When his girlfriend came over, he stayed in his virtual world.
Then she told him to quit.
Folmer sold his online casinos account and now, at 21, is a
rehabilitation studies major and wants to be an addictions
Now that another hot summer has arrived, many children are
spending lots of time inside with their computers and video
And experts say what starts as a harmless pastime can become an
escape from reality -- an emotional coping mechanism -- that
turns into an addiction.
The trend can be seen as far away as Amsterdam, where a center
recently opened to combat the problem.
Closer to home, mental health professionals who were once
dismissed as alarmists are now being asked for advice on how to
deal with the problem.
The trouble is not everyone has Folmer's self-discipline.
Do kids have the self discipline to avoid being addicted to
online casinos? The answers are up in the air. It is clear that
online casinos are popular and with the great imagery, online
casinos provide an attractive option on the internet.
Gambling at online casinos and betting at online sports-books is
quickly becoming a favorite pastime of many of America’s
teenagers and college students, some who are under the legal age
to bet online. But often, with this easy access to online
casinos and the large sums of money available for betting,
gambling online comes at a very high price for those involved.
The pitfalls and dangers of gambling, whether offline or online,
are obvious, but the recent explosion of online casinos has seen
more and more youth turning to betting.
Many parents are wrong or unaware about their children’s
addictions to online casinos. With the popularity of poker
tournaments on TV like the World Series of Poker and the World
Poker Tour, kids have begun to turn to online casinos and get
themselves into serious problems.
Since gambling at online casinos doesn’t seem as dangerous as
trying drugs or drinking too much alcohol, many kids don’t
equate it on the same level of addiction and thus they have no
idea of the risks and the habits they are forming.
Kids watch poker on TV and see the glamour of big cash prizes,
large tournament pots, fancy cars, and beautiful women, and this
cloudy view often translates to big losses on online casinos.
A technology addiction is like any other, said Keith Bakker,
director of Amsterdam's Smith & Jones Consulting. It's an escape
from real-world problems. Online casinos provide this. But will
online casinos step up to the plate and try to create programs
to help stop addictive gamblers?
Such addictions often go hand-in-hand with emotional problems
such as depression or anxiety, and often accompany drug abuse,
counselors say. Online casinos seem to be contributing too.