Sunday, December 15, 2019 07:17pm
North Adams, MA now: 28 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Printer Friendly Version
   Recommend this story to a friend

iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Wanna Bet?

By Jen Thomas
12:00AM / Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Card games are one venue for youth gambling...and adult wagers.
Substance abuse and youth sexual experiences are commonly discussed adolescent pitfalls but there is another youth trend grabbing attention on the local and national front.

Ante Up

Locally, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's “2006 Prevention Needs Assessment Survey Results” highlights gambling behaviors among area 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.

About 922 North Berkshire students participated with the survey and nearly 70 percent in each of the three grades reported gambling within the past year.

National research indicates a growing gambling trend impacting American youth and considered by many as troubling.

Gambling among adolescents has overshadowed other risky behaviors that plague school-aged children, easily surpassing marijuana use, underage drinking, and smoking cigarettes, according to numerous groups and studies. Most published results come from studies that were conducted between the mid-1980s to 2004.

The NBCC survey is one of the most up-to-date about youth gambling in the region.

69.1 percent of 8th graders reported gambling in the past year, compared with 67.2 percent of 10th graders and 74.5 percent of 12th graders. These statistics were consistent with data pooled from 2,838 students surveyed in all of Berkshire County, according to the NBCC survey.

Check

Popular gambling strategies include wagering on cards and sports, and playing the lottery. Poker, in particular, has seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years. "Texas Hold Em" poker tournaments are promoted regionally and adult attendance at the tournaments is often very high.

Many members of a younger generation view gambling as a safe alternative to other possible pursuits such as illegal drinking or drug use.

“It’s one of the safer things to do,” said Drury High School senior Brady Downey. “Most gambling I’ve seen or heard about is pretty innocent.”

With all sorts of prevention education, gambling seems a fairly low risk behavior bet.

“We hopefully won’t get in as much trouble,” he said.

Downey said the gambling he has experienced stems from a lack of anything else to do. When friends get together and are bored, someone just asks “Wanna play some cards?,” he noted.

The buy-in is no more than 10 or 15 dollars, Downey said.

Gambling provides a diversion for groups of area college students as well.

“During the poker boom of 2004 - when ESPN began televising tournaments - me and a small group of friends started to play 3 or 4 nights a week,” said a senior at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts who prefers to remain anonymous. He participates in a local poker night, hosted by another college senior.

“There's about 20 members in the league, and we consistently see about 12-14 every game, which is run every two weeks. We only play low stakes ($3-5 tournaments), and the winner rarely makes more than 20 or 30 dollars in a night,” said the student who hosts the Saturday poker nights.

The love of card games started for him at eight years old, but he only started playing for money in high school, he said.

“We would play small change games of poker from time to time, maybe bet on some big sports games like the Super Bowl, but never more than $25 in my case,” he said. “I didn't exactly have the money to toss around in high school.”

He added that the “rich kids” at school were able to “drop a couple hundred dollars on big games like the Super Bowl.”

Raise

“Gambling has become more and more part of our culture,” said Al Bashevkin, executive director of NBCC. “It’s more apparent than it has been.”

Officials at NBCC use the data from the survey to work in conjunction with the community to develop programs aimed at reducing risks and enhancing protections.

“The purpose is to find out what’s going on with our young people and what we can do as a community to create an environment that helps and recognizes our kids,” Bashevkin said. He added that it’s important to emphasize the value of postponing certain behaviors until individuals are old enough to recognize and understand consequences and the impact of possible consequences.

The data is used to raise awareness about the problems and promote dialogue, to identify where the community needs to take action, and to access resources that have proven effective in addressing risk factors that are high in the Berkshires, while improving the protective factors that are low.

Call

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), using data from the National Research Council, recognizes the increased interest in gambling among adolescents. They report that parents of teens are concerned that Internet gambling may become more popular, adding that “many game operators are operating from servers outside the U.S. – beyond the jurisdiction of state or federal regulations about the hours of operation, the age of participants, or the type of game offered.

The FTC compiled a list of warnings to educate parents and kids at a www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/olgamble.htm Internet web site.

Fold

According to the information, gambling delivers risks including:

Losing money. Online gambling operations are in business to make a profit. They take in more money than they pay out.

Ruin credit ratings. Online gambling generally requires the use of a credit card.

Online gambling can be addictive. Because Internet gambling is a solitary activity, people can gamble uninterrupted and undetected for hours at a time.

Gambling is illegal for youth. Every state prohibits gambling by minors.

Jen Thomas is a senior at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and a correspondent for iberkshires.com
Your Comments
Post Comment
A lot of my friends gamble and their parents play lottery tix like mad. Nobody thinks it is that bad.
from: Rob W.on: 02-14 00:00:00-2007


 
View All
Hockey: Drury vs Wahconah
Owen Kroboths short-handed goal early in the second period...
Lanesborough Tree Lighting...
Dozens gathered outside the Police station Thursday night...
2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree
The 2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree was held at McCann Tech...
Reindog Parade 2019
The annual Williamstown Holiday Walk again featured the...
Pittsfield Tree Lighting 2019
The City of Pittsfield officially kicked off the holiday...
North Adams Tree Lighting...
North Adams kicked off the holiday season with the slightly...
Oh Be Thankful Pie Contest
Gabriel Abbott Schools annual Oh Be Thankful Pie Contest...
McCann LPN Graduation 2019
McCann Technical School held its pinning ceremony for 20...
Williamstown Veterans Day...
Williamstown's American Legion Post 152 holds Veterans Day...
Pittsfield Veterans Day 2019
The Pittsfield Veterans Day Parade stepped off at 10 a.m....
North Adams Veterans Day 2019
North Adams held its Veterans Day observes Monday morning...
Cross Country: Multiple teams...
Ted Yee finished second overall, and Colin Young placed...
Ephs Defeat Amherst, 31-9
Senior safety Ben Anthony's interception return for a...
G Soccer: Smith Academy vs...
Lenox girls soccer team won over Smith Academy 2-0 in the...
Football: Lee vs Hoosac...
Lee High football team wins over Hoosac Valley 12-7 on...
G Soccer: Frontier vs Mount...
McWeeny's successful PK clinched a 4-1 shootout win for the...
Hockey: Drury vs Wahconah
Owen Kroboths short-handed goal early in the second period...
Lanesborough Tree Lighting...
Dozens gathered outside the Police station Thursday night...
2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree
The 2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree was held at McCann Tech...
Reindog Parade 2019
The annual Williamstown Holiday Walk again featured the...
Pittsfield Tree Lighting 2019
The City of Pittsfield officially kicked off the holiday...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved