A new study shows that American teenagers are keener on gambling than ever before. Nearly 20% of young men are found to gamble online regularly.
The study was conducted by researchers at University of California-Berkeley, and is supported by a related survey from the Institute of Research on Gambling Disorders, who found 70% of all americans aged 14 to 19 to have gambled in the past year.
The numbers are estimated to account for especially young poker
players, who have found their way to the online domains as a result of harsh U.S. poker legislation. The legal age for poker players who wish to test their skills in American casinos is 21 years, and this has led to a boom in underaged poker players turning to the internet instead.
Last year's WSOP Champion, Joe Cada, is with his 22 years the youngest player ever to win the World Series' Main Event, and for him the possibility to play online before entering the brick-and-mortar casinos eventually led to a prospering career.
"I was always the quieter type. I didn't really go out much and I just stayed in and played cards. One day I just kept winning and I won $4,000. I remember I went to school and told my friend Mike I was going to get to $10,000 by the end of the week. I went home, kept winning, next thing I know I got up to $15-$20,000 by the end of the week" Cada told ABC News. Cada would later go on to win the WSOP Main Event ahead of nearly 6,500 other players and cash in the first prize of $8,546,435. He also signed a major contract with PokerStars
and turned pro almost overnight.
U.S. Congress is currently considering a bill to regulate the online gambling industry so that the legal age can be controlled more thoroughly. The bill would at the same time open up for establishing gambling companies on U.S. soil with corresponding possibilities for taxation and regulation.