It wasn’t much money. There wasn’t much of a story. And there was not scandal, controversy or even news coverage.
But the topic is in need of highlighting: Underage gambling still happens at Atlantic City casinos.
The latest example came to light via a ruling from David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. The ruling, dated Sept. 6, detailed an incident in which 10 underage individuals gambled and won money at Resorts Casino Hotel.
Details of underage gambling at Resorts AC
According to a complaint filed on June 26, Resorts Atlantic City confiscated $242.02 in gambling winnings from 10 individuals under the age of 21.
Each of those patrons “waived or failed to demand a plenary hearing” within the time allotted by state regulators, thus “constructively admitting the allegations in the complaint.”
Under the Casino Control Act, a conviction for underage gambling results in a fine between $500 and $1,000. In addition, individuals will have their driver’s licenses suspended for six months. (A six-month deferral will be imposed on those who have yet to obtain a driver’s license.)
As for the gambling winnings, Rebuck obviously ordered the individuals to forfeit the $242.02. In addition, he ordered Resorts to remit the forfeited money to the DGE.
State law dictates that, of any forfeited amount under $100,000, half will go to the State General Fund. The Department of Human Services then funnel those funds toward compulsive gambling treatment and prevention programs in the state. The remaining half goes to the Casino Revenue Fund.
Underage gambling is no joke
According to a report from Dr. Jeff Derevensky, director of the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviours at McGill University in Canada, young adults have the highest risk of experiencing gambling problems, “especially young men.”
In fact, evidence indicates many adults with gambling problems “began gambling at ages as young as 9 or 10.”
Around the world, per the report, up to 80% of children and adolescents gambled in their lifetime despite being under the legal age to gamble. This likely contributes to data showing that between 3% and 32% of college-age students have gambling problems, averaging out to a rate of 10%.
The report does emphasizes, however, that despite the rapid growth in gambling opportunities over the past few years, “rates of problem gambling among youth have not increased.”
“Young people are significantly at higher risk of developing gambling disorder than adults, in part because their brains are not fully developed,” Dr. Timothy Fong, co-director of the UCLA Gambling Studies Program, told ABC News. “Their ability to evaluate risk, their ability to handle loss, isn’t as secure as an adult.”