Underage online gambling increases
By staff
The number of young boys gambling on the Internet is rising, a new survey released last Monday shows. They are twice as likely as girls to gamble on the Internet. The survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania showed 54% of boys between the ages of 14 and 18 have gambled compared to 16% of girls.

The study showed 7% of adolescents have gambled online, a significant increase from a previous range of 1% to 2.7%.

According to the survey, 1 in 10 boys reported gambling on the Internet in an average month.

'Adolescent boys are usually more likely than girls to engage in risky behavior like Internet gambling, and this study bears that out,' said Rachel Volberg, a senior research scientist for the National Opinion Research Center in Washington, D.C.

In the survey, random telephone calls were made to 408 adolescents across the country from March 3 to April 6. The margin of error for the survey was plus or minus 2.6 percent. Officials from the policy center's Institute for Adolescent Risk Communication released the survey at the National Press Club.

'I don't know if prohibition of Internet gambling is the answer, but there should be a national concern about the access to Internet gambling that adolescents have,' said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

However, Volberg believes that regulation, rather than prohibition of online gambling could be the answer: 'I think a more helpful approach might be the bill by Rep. John Conyers,' Volberg said, referring to the Michigan Democrat who wants to create a federal commission to study the feasibility of regulating Internet gambling.

'There need to be more studies on how the Internet can be used to protect adolescents from gambling as well as how the Internet can be used to promote the gambling industry,' Volberg said.

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