|According to a report from the Secaucus Reporter, gambling is “a bigger problem among teens than drugs”, as Edward Looney, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey ( CCGNJ) speaking at a press conference at Secaucus High School put it. |
As if on cue, anecdotal evidence arrived in the shape of an unnamed teenager, who told a televised press conference two days before the Super Bowl that he is addicted to gambling: “I've been involved with drugs. I've stole, I've done a lot of things to maintain my gambling.”
The confession is part of an effort by two New Jersey state assembly members and the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey to draw attention to the problem of teenage gambling.
Just prior to the Super Bowl, Anthony Impreveduto and NJ Assemblyman Gary Guear unveiled two pieces of legislation aimed at reducing teenage gambling. One piece would outline criminal penalties for teens caught gambling. The other would encourage education about the problem.
Several studies, according to Looney, show that gambling is more prevalent in high school and college than drug and alcohol use, and often accounts for more criminal activity than is associated with drug addition.
”…Impreveduto said he is not coming out against gambling: ”`We're not saying gambling is a bad thing,’ he said. `But it has to be appropriate and it can't be done by kids.’ Impreveduto also said that high school and college students often fall prey to bookies, resorting to drug-dealing and theft to pay off their gambling debts.