Myths & Facts

International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors

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Adolescents | Myths and Facts

Myths and Facts

Because gambling is quite popular in our society, many teenagers try out different gambling activities, including poker, dice, scratch cards and sports betting, among others.

Few adults and adolescents are aware of the risks associated with excessive gambling, which is expressed by a gradual loss of control over gambling behaviour. When does gambling become a problem? Even when gambling habits and behaviours are not completely out of control, a player may experience negative consequences because of a high level of involvement in gambling. The most frequent forms of problems reported by gamblers are financial difficulties, work- or school-related problems (such as a loss of interest, failing grades or poor results), problems with family and friends, lying or stealing to keep gambling, and mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Just like with any other addiction, an addiction to gambling is accompanied by a preoccupation with gambling, figuring out how to get money to play, planning where and when they will gamble next.

Posted below are a few myths often associated with teenage gambling.

Myth: Adolescents cannot develop gambling problems.


Approximately 4-6% of high school students are addicted to gambling, and another 10-14% are at risk of developing an addiction, which means that they already show signs of losing control over their gambling behaviour. Recent studies in Quebec show that approximately 2% of high school students are addicted to gambling, while approximately 1% of the adult population experiences gambling problems.

Myth: Gambling activities are inoffensive and harmless.


While the vast majority of players will gamble only on occasion and just for fun, others will gamble excessively and develop serious problems. Those players become preoccupied with gambling activities, become over-involved, neglecting their responsibilities and other activities, which can lead to various other problems.

Myth: A good video game player will be a good video lottery terminal (VLT) player.


A video game requires skills; the more you play the better you become. A VLT machine, just like any other game of chance, does not require skill. The results are completely random and you cannot influence the outcome of a VLT game.

Myth: Knowing the rules of a game such as roulette can increase your chances of winning.


Knowing the rules of a game such as roulette can help you to a certain extent, but the odds are always against you. Plus, you have no control over where the ball will land.

Myth: It does not matter if you lose; eventually, if you keep gambling, you will win your money back.


Over time, you will lose more and more money, even if you do win occasionally.

Myth: When playing the lottery, a roulette wheel, dice or a VLT game, keeping track of previous results can help you figure out the coming results.


The nature of these games, and of probability, is such that every event is independent of the previous one. For example, each roll of the dice is an entirely new and random event that has nothing to do with previous rolls, nor will it influence future ones.