Michigan’s gambling industry has been booming since its legalization. With all this growth, bipartisan legislation was introduced to teach students K-12 about the serious risks of gambling. Just as students hear about the dangers of drugs and alcohol in school, this bill advocates teaching Michigan students about the consequences of gambling addictions.
Senate Bill 54, initiated by Senator Joseph N. Bellino Jr., will teach students responsible gambling education. The bill also states that the curriculum of the bill for the Michigan Department of Education must be “age and grade-appropriate”.
The bill is moving through the Senate Education Committee for deliberation. You can read the two-paged bill here:
As advocates of responsible gaming messaging, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) are hopeful for the bill.
“With the popularity of mobile betting apps and online sports betting now being legal in over 30 states, teenagers are having problems with gambling addiction,” said Senator Bellino in a press release. “It has been reported that many young people don’t see gambling as risky and that the percentage of high school students with a gambling problem is double that of adults. My bill has bipartisan support to head off this growing problem by acting to raise awareness among our students about the real risks of gambling.”
Gambling Problems Among Students
A recent MGCB press release revealed statistics of underage gambling. A staggering 60-80% of high schoolers said they have gambled for money this year, according to the National Council of Problem Gambling. Among these, 4-6% of high schoolers are considered addicted to gambling.
James J Maney, Executive Director of the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPB), stated gambling addicts have the highest suicide rate. Maney believes the most helpful preventative measure we can take is education.
The MGCB believes that parents and teachers have a responsibility to teach students about the danger of excessive gambling as they approach the legal age of 21.
“I think high school age is appropriate for educating our students on the risks of gambling because that is the age that we start to really focus on the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and in our state, opioid addiction. I think educating students on the risks of gambling during this time makes sense as it is a natural fit with the other topics. It also makes sense to start educating our students on the risks associated with gambling before they are legally able to start using the easily accessible sports betting apps so they have some knowledge of what they may be getting into beforehand.” said Senator Bellino.
Signs That a Student Might Have a Gambling Problem
The MGCB hosted a responsible gaming conference that discussed signs of a teenager that might be struggling with a gambling problem. Those signs could include gambling with money that is meant for school, frequently carrying dice, cards, or poker chips, skipping class to gamble, and even stealing money to gamble.
Henry Williams, executive director of MGCB added, “While they can’t gamble legally on the internet or at a casino, young people may turn to illegal gambling options not authorized under Michigan law,”
‘Michigan high school and college students traditionally study the ‘three Rs’ … but the gaming industry and regulators advocate adding a fourth ‘R’ — responsible gaming — this month as a new school year begins,” an MGCB statement read.
Anyone seeking help with their gambling activity should call the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 800-270-7117.
Mac Daniel is a 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