Problem gambling month focuses children lured into that world at a younger age


The Delaware Council on Gambling Problems (DCGP) kicked off March and Problem Gambling Awareness Month with a new campaign focused on youth gambling and gaming. This campaign includes Google, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, internet-connected ads, free posters, and brochures for schools and parents.

In Delaware, nearly 44% of youth surveyed in middle and high schools admit to gambling in the past year. Yet 66% of parents have never talked to their kids about gambling.

“We know that kids who are introduced to gambling by the age of 12 are four times more likely to develop a gambling problem,” said John Schmidt, prevention services coordinator for youth at DCGP. “We want parents to understand that what seems so harmless, a simple card or skill game, can—for some children—lead to a dangerous gambling addiction.”

The campaign, called “Dangerous Levels Ahead,” has resources and information on two new websites aimed at parents and kids and teens.

“Our new websites help parents and educators start the conversation with their kids and students. We provide downloadable posters and flyers and even an online quiz to see who knows and understands the signs of gambling,” said Schmidt. “And our site just for kids helps them understand the risks of gambling and how to seek help if they think they have a gambling addiction.”


While March is devoted to problem gambling awareness, in Delaware, DCGP offers a free program throughout the school year, featuring an interactive presentation that engages students and educates them on the dangers of gambling. So far, 24 schools have hosted a presentation, with 12 more planned this school year.

“We hosted the presentations in the health classes and could visibly see the kids’ reactions as they related to what was being presented,” explained Amanda Mattei, health teacher at AI du Pont High School in the Red Clay School District. “We have the posters to hang in our hallways and have brochures available for kids and their parents. The Delaware Council on Gambling Problems has really made it easy to share this important information with our students.”

DCGP collaborated with Aloysius Butler & Clark (AB&C), an agency based in Wilmington to create the materials and websites available in English and Spanish.

Here are a few key warning signs that a child could be at risk for a gambling addiction:

  • Misses school with no explanation.
  • Grades suddenly drop; assignments are missing.
  • Disinterest in other activities.
  • Behavior becomes secretive, defensive or aggressive.
  • Increased interest in money and value of possessions.
  • Speaks openly about gambling or borrowing money.

For more information, visit Parents who think their child has a gambling issue, can talk to a trained counselors for help. The DCGP Hotline for referrals is 1-888-850-8888.