Underage gaming on the rise
A Caribbean study conducted by RISE Life Management Services has revealed an alarming figure, showing that many persons as young as 10 years old have had some involvement with gambling.
The announcement was made by RISE Life Management's Executive Director Sonita Abrahams at a recent presentation ceremony for a poster competition organised by RISE Life.
"Children live in an era when legalised gaming activities are at its peak...this is an issue that really needs our attention," the executive director said.
The ceremony was held under the theme, 'I Will Determine What My Future Will be and Underage Gambling Is Not For Me'.
The presentation, which was sponsored by Supreme Ventures and the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission, targeted primary and high school students islandwide, and sought to equip them with the knowledge and skills on how to say no to underage gambling.
Abrahams maintained that her organisation will remain committed to developing cutting edge programmes that address specific issues facing youths.
"When we think of addiction, the first thing that might come to mind is substance abuse such as marijuana or other mind-altering drugs... but gambling can be an insidious habit which destroys families. Can you imagine a member of a household coming home to announce that the roof over their head is gone due to gambling? This is a reality," Abrahams said.
Jack Shirley, executive director of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission, speaking at the event, said although the Jamaican economy has benefited significantly from the expansion of the gaming industry, the organisation is mindful of the harm that can result.
"With Rise Life's expertise in offering the Caribbean's only addiction prevention and rehabilitation programme, it was a natural fit for the two entities to work together to build a social consciousness around responsible gaming," he said.
Shirley highlighted that the BGLC takes great pride in being the principal funding partner for RISE Life's gambling programme, and has donated approximately $50 million to fund various research, treatment and public awareness programmes, including the annual schools poster competition.
According to Shirley, the BGLC fully encourages responsible gaming and said a comprehensive, responsible gaming code of conduct was established for gaming lounges.