PETALING JAYA - Young people tend to become problem gamblers because they generally enjoy exploring new kinds of excitement, says a psychologist.
Dr Jasmine Loo, a psychology lecturer, said youths tended to be more "sensation seeking" and were more likely to get hooked on the thrills of gambling.
"There is a higher degree of impulsiveness among young people and some may feel they are invincible," she said.
According to Gamblers Rehab Centre, those aged between 17 and 30 made up 75 per cent of online gamblers based on data collected between 2007 and last year.
Dr Loo said young people preferred sports betting and games like poker.
"With the World Cup, we can expect youths to bet over the matches," she said.
As for older adults, Dr Loo said some turned to gambling to find comfort.
"Some turn to gambling because they are dealing with life stressors such as the death of a loved one, being laid off from work or as a remedy for loneliness.
"There are a lot of cases where parents, in their 50s, spend their days at the casinos to fill that void," she said.
Dr Loo said, based on past research, the most common and seemingly harmless kind of gambling was buying lottery tickets.
"All problem gamblers have tried their luck at the lottery. However, not every lottery gambler is an addicted problem gambler," she said.
Dr Loo said statistics also show that a person who was anxious, depressed or stressed was more likely to gamble, which eventually became a vicious cycle.
"Some problem gamblers eventually borrow money from loan sharks to pay off their losses and such negative impact will also affect their family members," she said.