Ticonderoga There’s a good bet a local teen-ager has placed a wager on this week’s NBA finals.
More than 40 percent of all Essex County students admit they have gambled in the past year, according to The Prevention Team. The numbers range from 15 percent of eighth graders to 53 percent of high school seniors.
“It’s important for parents to have a discussion with their children about gambling,” Linda Gerardi, Prevention Team community outreach coordinator, said. “The statistics show one in four boys will develop a gambling problem. We need to help our children understand the risks associated with gambling.”
That’s why the Ticonderoga-based Prevention Team is offering assistance to teens and their families who may be concerned about gambling. The Prevention Team is a non-profit agency that provides alcohol, tobacco and other drug education and prevention services for Essex County.
The Prevention Team is now available to discuss gambling and children. It will make presentations to any parent, community or church group interested in learning more. Interested people can call Gerardi at 585-7424.
The group has also started a series of public service announcements warning about the dangers of problem gambling.
And to extend the message further, The Prevention Team offers a student-produced play that focuses on teen gambling to be performed at schools and other venues.
Gerardi stressed the message is not anti-gambling; it’s gambling education.
“Teens don’t perceive the risks involved,” she said. “They don’t realize it’s more likely to lose than to win. They don’t understand odds and the pitfalls of losing. Teaching kids the consequences of gambling is the best way to help them.”
Today’s teens face greater exposure to gambling than ever before, Gerardi pointed out. The internet has opened up a world of online poker, games of chance, sports betting and more. And gambling that was once illegal, is now flourishing at casinos in Saratoga and St. Regis Falls.