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No. of teenage gambling addicts on sharp rise

Sept. 27, 2020 - 13:31 By Ko Jun-tae
The number of teenage gambling addicts has grown sharply in the past five years, data showed Sunday.

According to Korea Center on Gambling Problems data obtained by the office of Rep. Bae June-young of the People Power Party, 981 teenagers underwent therapy for gambling addiction last year, a number that has increased by more than 14 times since 2015.

In 2015, only 71 teens participated in the same program. The number rose to 240 the next year, 345 in 2017, 714 in 2018 and to 981 in 2019. This year, as of the end of August, 549 teenagers have entered through the program, the data showed.

Some 60 percent of the teen gamblers bet on sports, while 34,6 percent played “mini games,” or simple mobile games using cards, balls or other items, such as baccarat. In 98.5 percent of cases, the gambling took place online.

Despite online gambling becoming a growing problem among adolescents, the Ministry of Education has no budget to address the problem, Rep. Bae pointed out, urging the ministry to play an active role.

By Ko Jun-tae (