Gambling disorder (GD) is a psychiatric condition and it is characterized by a maladaptive pattern of gambling behavior that persists despite negative consequences in major areas of life functioning. In Italy, CNR (National Research Council) underlined how over 17 million, 42.8% of the population aged 15–64 have a gambling behavior. Among them, there are over one million students, aged 15–19, equal to 44.2% of Italian students; the number of minors in Italy with GD in 2017 was 580,000, equal to 33.6%. Various psychosocial treatment models have been adapted for GD; on the other hand no drug has received regulatory approval in any jurisdiction as a specific psychopharmacological treatment for GD. Family therapy interventions for treatment of substance abuse problems have been adapted for adolescents GD. Given the increasing overall prevalence of adolescent gambling, it is imperative that Pediatricians appreciate that gambling problems can also afflict adolescents. In conclusion underage gambling appears to be associated positively with alcohol, tobacco and other substance use, as well as with other individual behaviors, therefore we need that collaborative efforts between scientific societies, government and stake holders can influence the uptake of research findings necessary to implement social policies and design effective public health intervention options. Educational-based problem gambling prevention programs are important avenues in targeting at-risk behaviors among adolescents to prevent an escalation of problematic behaviors into adulthood.
- gambling disorders