TUESDAY, Oct. 19, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Monthly use of online gambling sites among college-aged males in the United States jumped from 4.4 percent in 2008 to 16 percent this year, a rise of nearly 12 percent, according to a new survey.
There was also a rise in overall online monthly gambling among high school-aged females, from 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent, according to the latest National Annenberg Survey of Youth.
Counting both online and offline gambling, monthly and weekly rates actually dropped from 2008 to 2010 among high school- and college-aged males and stayed about the same or dropped among college-aged females.
The rate of monthly and weekly gambling of all types among high school females (aged 14 to 17 years), however, rose more than 9 percent in the same two years, although the gambling rate of both high school- and college-aged females was still much lower than that of their male counterparts.
The national telephone survey, conducted by the Annenberg Adolescent Communication Institute (ACI) at the University of Pennsylvania, included 835 respondents in 2008 and 596 respondents in 2010. Their ages were 14 to 22.
Among high school-aged males, the monthly use of online gambling sites increased from 2.7 percent to 6.2 percent, a change that was not statistically significant. There was virtually no weekly use of online gambling among males or females in this age group.
Projected on a national basis, the survey findings suggest that more than 400,000 college-aged males (18 to 22) go online to gamble at least once a week and more than 1.7 million do so at least once a month. About 530,000 high school-aged males go online to gamble once a month, the researchers calculated.
"The dramatic increase in use of online gambling by college-aged male youth indicates that payment restrictions on such sites are no longer a barrier to young people," ACI director Dan Romer said in an institute news release.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about online gambling.