One in four teenagers has been involved in illegal gambling activities, according to a recent survey.
Conducted by Shue Yan University and the Society for Truth and Light, the poll found that mobile apps are enabling online gambling among teens. While many bet low-value items such as soft drinks, experts believe it's an issue that's growing more serious; past studies show that teenage online gambling has an above average rate of triggering addiction.
Online gambling first emerged in 1994 and hit its first major growth spurt in the mid ‘90s with 15 online gambling sites in 1996 climbing to 200 in 1997. Today there are thousands of online gambling sites, with the latest wave coming via smartphones and tablets.
Mobile gaming is expecting double-digit growth reaching over 40% of the total online gambling market by 2018, as the number of mobile gamblers increases by a hundred million, according to Trulioo, who says "recent trends have made underage gambling faster and more accessible, which is a serious issue that requires immediate attention and appropriate actions to safeguard our children."
Studies show that underage players are three times more likely to develop problematic playing than adults, the Vancouver-based startup says.
"Underage gambling has proven to have potentially serious, negative effects including the excessive length of time spent online, vulnerability to addiction, lack of sleep, and the associated impact on offline activities and relationships," writes the Canadian company. "This is only to be exasperated when the individual is not tied to significant responsibilities such as a family or career that may otherwise mitigate their engagement."
Trulioo's solution? A house-made product. Its new "Global Gateway" is designed to simplify the age verification process with on-demand access to data from 130 sources, specifically aggregated and licensed to verify a list of three billion records from 30 countries around the world, the company says.
There wlil always be those who find their way around gates on the internet to engage in illegal activities, but firms like Trulioo are working hard to keep them to a minimum.