Teaching Michigan Tweens about Responsible Gaming

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The Michigan Gaming Control Board thinks that the age group between children and teenagers is the perfect time to talk about responsible gaming behaviors. “Tweens” are classified as adolescents between ages 8-12. They are old enough to comprehend the subject but not quite old enough to be placed in wagering situations. Studies show that 7/10 students between the ages of 14-19 will bet money on games in a year. 

Parent Involvement

Like most issues, it is beneficial for tweens to learn about them at home first. 

Executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Henry Williams said, “Parents should discuss responsible gaming with their children before they attend high school.” 

It may come as a surprise to parents how often this problem persists with high schoolers.

“National studies have shown young people gamble in betting pools, while on the basketball court sidelines and on video games or even try to do so online or at a casino. As a parent and a former social worker, I know how important it is for parents to look for signs of problem behaviors and to take an active role in educating children to understand the consequences of their behavior,” Williams said.

Parental controls on electronics can be a beneficial tool for protecting children and teens from accessing gambling sites. Williams even suggests implementing a central space where families can use devices safely under the supervision of parents. For example, screen time is only allowed in the common spaces of the home: living room, kitchen, den, etc. 

The Gaming Control Board also cautions parents about leaving out credit cards and personal identification information where children can access it.

The International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG) has reported that 2-7% of people under the legal gambling age experience a gambling problem. Some behaviors to look out for that may indicate that your teen is at-risk are anxiety, low mood, lying about whereabouts, stealing money, and appearing distracted. 

The International Center for Responsible Gaming outlines ways to help youth avoid these harmful behaviors. 

  • Start early: It is never too early to start discussing safe practices with your children. Gambling activity has been witnessed at ages as young as 9. 
  • Listen: Help establish a safe and secure environment where your children can feel comfortable coming to you with their struggles. 
  • Educate yourself and your kids about gambling: The Michigan Gaming Control Board website is a great place to start.
  • Discuss: Talk about the realities of chance with your children.
  • Know normal behaviors: It is common for adolescence to lack the understanding of long-term consequences, making them more impulsive.
  • Set rules: Research shows specific, consistent, and reasonable rules lead to fewer problems with risky behaviors, including gambling.
  • Monitor activities: Keep a close eye on your child’s online activity. Never leave out credit card information. 
  • Be involved: Ask teachers to include probability and randomness in math lessons and monitor money exchanges between students.
  • Help children develop coping skills: Help your children develop effective ways of coping with stress, sadness, and anxiety.
  • Understand the role of the family: Kids whose parents have a gambling problem are more likely to also develop one. 

Both the International Center for Responsible Gaming and Michigan Gaming Control Board websites feature valuable resources that educate on safe gambling practices. 

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 24-hour hotline at 


Mac Daniel is a Michigan native and freelance writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com