Why focus on Teen and Young Adult Problem Gambling?

Scientists learned that the adolescent brain is still growing, which accounts for the frequently impulsive behavior and unwise decisions of teenagers. In addition, youth are trying new things and making mistakes along the way. 

Research shows that teenagers and college-aged young adults are more impulsive and are at a higher risk for developing gambling problems than adults. According to a Harvard University study on pathological gambling in the United States, 1.6 percent of the adult population and 3.9 percent of adolescents have a pathological gambling problem. Another 3.9 percent of the adult population and 9.5 percent of adolescents experience problem gambling behaviors. Further research indicates adolescent minorities’ gambling problems are two to three times higher than white adolescents.

Students with gambling problems are more likely to use tobacco, drink heavily or binge drink, smoke marijuana or use other illegal drugs, drive under the influence and have a low grade point average (GPA). Children who are introduced to gambling by the age of 12 are four times more likely to become problem gamblers.

NCPGP Stacked Deck Youth Prevention Mini-Grant

A 2011 Youth Behavior Risk Survey in North Carolina cited that 9th and 12th graders were gambling at the same rate of 33 percent. Because of this research, the NCPGP offers mini grants ranging from $1,800 to $5,000 to implement an evidence-based program called Stacked Deck to middle schools, high schools and at-risk community-based programs. All instructors are trained on the curriculum and provided with tools to be successful.

Stacked Deck is effective in preventing and reducing the risk of problem gambling among teens and young adults. The evidence-based curriculum was researched by Robert Williams, Ph.D. and Robert Wood, Ph.D. then published it in 2010. Offered in five to six sessions that extend from 35-45 minutes each, the program is aimed at changing gambling-related attitudes, knowledge, beliefs and practices. The Stacked Deck curriculum is heavily interactive and includes activities such as role-playing. Participants have designed posters and produced videos with prevention gambling messages. In addition, the curriculum includes take-home “family pages” to engage family members in the program. Participating students are given a pre and post-curriculum survey.

The application period is rolling; however, most applications are submitted by August 30th of each year. There are 40 grants available each State Fiscal Year (July 1st – June 30th). Please inquire regarding the availability of grants, if you apply after the soft deadline.

The below links include more information on the grant, including guidelines, the application and examples of outreach from past grant applicants.

Please contact Alison Drain at alison.drain@dhhs.nc.gov or 919-800-8482 with any questions.

Testimonials

Few students have had the opportunity to explore the silent, hidden addiction of gambling. Stacked Deck is a thought provoking, relevant curriculum; lessons are fun but very powerful! The dialogue between facilitator and students is engaging and comprehensive. It’s easy to collaborate with a variety of disciplines to present the content.


Judy Cluett, School Counselor, Heide Trask High School

Gambling addiction is real and it's happening here. While learning the Stacked Deck curriculum, I learned that my classmate's mother had a scratch-off ticket problem. Her addiction drove her to take out money from their savings account and it almost devastated her family until she got help.


Cody McBride, Student, Heide Trask High School

The Stack Deck curriculum has had a tremendous impact at Starmount High School. It is important to inform our students of the danger of taking part in such actions and the epidemic that is growing. Some may see gambling as fun and entertaining, but our school is determined to bring awareness to the problem of gambling.


Elbert Thomas, School Counselor, Starmount High School

NCPGP University and College Prevention Mini-Grant

The NCPGP offers mini grants up to $5,000 to universities and colleges to promote problem gambling education and outreach to students, faculty and staff.

The program initially followed a three-pronged approach with focus on screening for problem gambling, outreach programs and policy changes to include a campus-wide policy on gambling. To include more colleges and universities that may not have formal counseling centers, the program broadened its approach to include programs that best fit each campus.

Colleges and universities across North Carolina receive grant funding to increase outreach events and raise awareness of the problem gambling services available. Departments such as counseling centers, marketing and graphic design have collaborated to create outreach materials.

The application period is rolling; however, most applications are submitted by August 30th of each year. There are a limited number of grants available each State Fiscal Year (July 1st – June 30th). Please inquire regarding the availability of grants, if you apply after the soft deadline.

The below links include more information on the grant, including guidelines, the application and examples of outreach from past grant applicants.

Please contact Alison Drain at alison.drain@dhhs.nc.gov or 919-800-8482 with any questions.

Testimonials

We utilized the grant to create a student PSA, held a graphic design competition and created promotional T-shirts that are quite popular with our students! Our primary goal with the grant has been to garner peer supported learning about problem gambling and to empower students with knowledge and resources to increase awareness among their families and within their community. Problem gambling is indeed more than a game.


Marbeth Holmes, Director of Student Wellness, Nash Community College

Last semester, a presentation was given to my graphic design class followed by details about a logo competition for a T-shirt for the NC Problem Gambling Program. During the presentation, I learned that gambling addicts are not just those who gamble in poker, and I realized that a member of my family has been a gambling addict for years and my family never recognized it. I informed my relatives about the presentation from class. When I found out that I was the winner for the competition and I was going to have my design on the T-shirts, my family immediately wanted a T-shirt for my relative with the gambling problem. The North Carolina Problem Gambling Program is an amazing program for anyone at any age to seek out support to help with their gambling addiction. I am very lucky to have this program available on campus as well as am honored to have my design associated with the program.


Emely Morales, Student, Nash Community College

The college mini-grant allowed UNC-Wilmington to implement a late night, St. Patrick’s Day themed educational event with a creative and interactive spin. With a team of several student affairs offices coming together to promote the motto “Don’t Bet Your Life On Luck,” awareness in our community on problem gambling addiction can only grow! The program is an important developmental experience as it aligns with the institution's vision to inspire intellectual curiosity within the student body.


Darion Bayles, UNCWeekends Graduate Assistant, University of North Carolina - Wilmington

Material Distribution

The NCPGP library has information and printed materials that can be distributed at no cost to help communities and organizations understand and address the impact of problem gambling.

In addition, the program is available to exhibit at conferences and events throughout the state to educate clinicians, educators and communities regarding problem gambling prevention and treatment services.

Speakers Bureau

The NCPGP provides trained clinicians throughout the state who are available to provide presentations on topics relating to problem gambling. Please contact the NCPGP prevention coordinator to schedule your no cost presentation.

Examples of training include:

  • NCPG Program and resources
  • Youth problem gambling prevention
  • Family impact of problem gambling
  • Athletes and problem gambling

Problem Gambling Awareness Month

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). This initiative is driven by the National Council on Problem Gambling. A media kit is developed and can be distributed upon request by the middle of February of each year. This kit includes information to post on social media and electronic newsletters.

NCPGP Newsletter

This newsletter provides communities and organizations with the most up-to-date research, highlights special populations, provides information on NCPGP grants, upcoming trainings and news specific to North Carolinians.

Please sign up for the newsletter by emailing alison.drain@dhhs.nc.gov.