On Monday, December 20, 2019, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu placed the first legal sports bet on his cell phone. That bet put New Hampshire in the record books as the 14th state to launch legalized sports betting.
Out of those 14 states, now only two states allow 18 and 19-year-old players to engage in legal sports betting. New Hampshire’s neighbor Rhode Island allows 18 (teenagers) and older players to place sports bets. It is not without its controversy.
Advocacy for gambling addiction groups in both states have voiced their concerns about the rule. People are talking about the issue in both states, about what the ramifications are since more and more states are expected to allow sports betting in this new year.
Allowing 18 years to legally gamble is not new. Most states allow 18-year-old players to buy lottery tickets and bet on horse races. In England 18 and above players can place legal bets too.
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Sports betting is considered a class 111 game, and those against allowing under 21-year-old players to place legal sports bets is just asking for trouble.’ They say that allowing 18 and 19-year-old players to play, could lead to gambling addiction.
Yale University professor psychiatry Marc Potenza specifically studies and researches gambling addiction on adolescent brains. Potenza said, “While adolescents is only a short period of one’s life, it is a critical time of development and change and growth. There exist high rates of risk-taking behavior during the adolescent; years.
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Behaviors associated with gambling have addictive tendencies and other associated risks.” Professor Potenza and his colleague Mary Wilbur wrote an article about their concerns in ‘Psychiatry Journal.’ The World Health Organization describes says the adolescent years are between 10 and 19.
The National Council On Problem Gambling (NCPG) Is Weighing The Issue Of Teens
The NCPG is conducting separate research on what the possible risks are for 18 and 19 years being able to legally gambling. The legislative director of NCPG Brianne Doura said this week, “The NCPG works to make sure there’s consistency within each state, but also recognizes that types of games differ within each state.” Doura said that she and the NCPG has ‘grave concerns about teens being allowed to legally gamble
She said that most people that have gambling addictions and seek help reveal that their addictions started at a young age.’ Doura added ‘that the goal of NCPG is to understand how impulsiveness plays into gambling addiction. She said the biggest negative emotional issue with adolescents is their lack of impulse control.’
DraftKings is the official sports betting provider for the state of New Hampshire. The DraftKings app has a feature that allows players to see how long they have been online and how much money they have spent. Doura said ‘that feature is a positive helpful took for young players, but it’s not a solution for addictive behavior.
KnupSports provides a guide to sports betting here.