New research has indicated that teenagers who are addicted to video games are more likely to develop obsessive and antisocial tendencies leading to gambling.
A survey of 2669 teenagers aged between 13 and 17 by Adelaide University researchers found 56 per cent had gambled in the past year. The study also revealed that 2.4 per cent became pathological gamblers by the age of 18.
The figure was higher than 2.1 per cent in case of adults who were found to be problem gamblers by the Productivity Commission in 1999. However, the level of harm, like losing a house or a relationship was much lower in case of teens.
The study found that a large numbers of teenagers who played video games later participated in some form of gambling - buying scratchies, playing card games, and playing poker machines.
The study established that teenage problem gamblers played arcade games three times more often than those who did not gamble, and on average they played hand-held games and Internet games more than twice as often.
One of the researchers, associate Professor Paul Delfabbro, noted that teenage boys were more likely to play video games and gamble often, and this was one reason for the relationship.
He said: ''The other reason is that the sorts of kids who are playing video games probably do so because they've got less parental supervision...They're probably bored; they probably don't have a lot of structured activity in their life.
''So the physical act of playing video games doesn't increase the risk of gambling but it is indicative of a pattern of leisure activity, which probably means you're going to find gambling an entertaining activity.''