Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

The addiction nobody is talking about

Contrary+to+popular+belief%2C+only+13.5%25+of+players+walk+out+of+a+casino+making+a+profit+according+to+thegamblingclinic.com
Daniel Brehob
Contrary to popular belief, only 13.5% of players walk out of a casino making a profit according to thegamblingclinic.com

*The names Matt, James and Mark have been used to protect the identity of sources in this article.

When parents think of things to worry about their teenagers doing, it usually consists of smoking weed, vaping or drinking, but there is another illegal act many students at KHS partake in: gambling. Whether it’s poker at someone’s house or making parlays on sketchy websites, betting has spread through the student body like wildfire.

Because of his knowledge of soccer, Matt, senior, said he started gambling during the 2022 World Cup. Matt said when he won $170 from a small bet on his new sports book (typically a website or app where people can place bets on hundreds of games), he was instantly hooked.

“It gave me a sense of adrenaline [while watching the game],” Matt said. “It’s very addicting because even if you go down, you still feel like you can always make your money back and then [some].”

It’s very addicting because even if you go down, you still feel like you can always make your money back and then [some].

— Matt

Gambling is becoming a huge part of the economy. The U.S. generated a record breaking $53 billion in revenue in 2022 from casinos according to Debt.org. James, junior, gambles regularly and said he has lost many bets, adding to this number.

“It started from watching sporting events and feeling like I could guess who would win,” James said. “I started putting money on it and it took off from there. Honestly, it isn’t going great because I don’t win a lot.”

Mark, senior, said he also got onto a sports book through friends and became hooked because of the excitement added to watching games. However, Mark said he has been able to control his losses.

“I don’t have a job and don’t have a lot of money to spend,” Mark said. “I knew I had to put a hard deadline on myself and so far I have been able to uphold that, but I still think about [gambling] 24/7.”

Matt said just like with drugs and alcohol, there is pressure to gamble on sports or play casino games. His friends share bets with each other daily to try and help each other beat the books.

“It makes [the addiction] worse because we all encourage each other,” Matt said. “We have a Snapchat group chat where we share each other’s tickets. Even though some things aren’t guaranteed, we always say ‘this is such a lock’.”

James described how easy it is for him and his dad to place bets. He also said it is easy for teenagers to get on a sportsbook.

“We drive over to Illinois because it’s legal there,” James said. “There’s nothing really stopping you from driving over and placing bets on your phone. I know plenty of kids [can] find a bookie and plenty of kids that gamble.”

I know plenty of kids [can] find a bookie and plenty of kids that gamble.

— James

Mark said sports betting is easy to get into for teenagers. Mark said because of this, it can be more addicting than drinking or smoking.

“Sports betting is easily accessible,” Mark said. “It’s more addicting because you can place bets or play an online casino 24/7 whereas you don’t always have access to drugs or alcohol.” 

James said although it’s controversial, gambling should be made legal in Missouri, which would generate even more revenue for the state. He also said schools should teach kids the dangers of falling into debt from betting.

“If there’s going to be a push to legalize weed, I see nothing wrong with legalizing gambling,” James said. “Schools should push gambling responsibly, not necessarily not doing it, but gambling within reason.”

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About the Contributors
Brennan Rea, sports editor
He/Him Hobbies and Interests: baseball, video games, weightlifting, golfing Favorite movie: The Wolf of Wall Street Favorite Quote: “Through every dark night, there’s a bright day after that. So no matter how hard it get, stick your chest out, keep your head up and handle it.” -2pac
Daniel Brehob, artist
Pronouns: He/Him Hobbies and Interests: tennis, drawing, judo Favorite movie: Princess Mononoke Favorite Quote: "Yeah." - Brad Pitt
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