What Is Stacked Deck?
Stacked Deck: A Program to Prevent Problem Gambling is the only curriculum proven effective in changing youth gambling behaviors. Stacked Deck teaches young people to approach life as smart
risk-takers, weighing the pros and cons of their actions to determine the odds of achieving positive results. In six interactive lessons, the program teaches about the history of gambling; the true odds and the “house edge”; gambling fallacies; the signs, risk factors, and causes of problem gambling; and skills for good decision-making and problem-solving. Each lesson includes a PowerPoint slide show and a family page.
What Are the Program's Goals?
- teach young people the facts about gambling and related risks
- encourage responsible decision making
- prevent young people from becoming problem gamblers
Is Stacked Deck an Evidence-Based Program?
Yes. The clinical controlled trial that evaluated Stacked Deck
is published in a peer-reviewed journal (Williams, Wood & Currie, in press). The authors’ research shows that Stacked Deck significantly:
- changes participants’ attitudes toward gambling
- improves participants’ knowledge about gambling and problem gambling
- improves participants’ resistance to gambling fallacies
- improves participants’ general decision-making and problem-solving skills
- decreases the frequency of gambling behavior among participants
- decreases rates of problem gambling among participants
While a handful of other school-based programs demonstrate an ability to change gambling attitudes and knowledge, Stacked Deck is the only program that has been proven to actually change behavior and to decrease both gambling and problem gambling (Williams, West, & Simpson, 2007a; 2007b; Williams, Wood, & Currie, 2008). The program is uniquely effective in achieving this level of success.
Why Should Schools Address the Issue of Problem Gambling?
The past thirty years have seen a dramatic increase in the availability of legalized gambling opportunities worldwide. With this availability have come higher rates of both gambling and problem gambling. (Problem gambling occurs when an individual experiences difficulty in limiting money and/or time spent on gambling and this difficulty leads to significant adverse consequences (Gambling Research Australia, 2005).) Severe forms of problem gambling are also known as “pathological gambling” or “compulsive gambling.” Among adults, the prevalence of problem gambling in North America increased significantly from 1977 to 1993 (Shaffer & Hall, 2001; Shaffer, Hall, & Vanderbilt, 1997).
Though problem gambling rates among adults are of concern (Shaffer & Hall, 2001; AGRI, 2008), the prevalence among youth is higher. National studies in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Sweden found that problem gambling peaks among 18- to 24-year-olds (Gerstein et al., 1999; Productivity Commission, 1999; Statistics Canada, 2003; Ronnberg et al., 1999). Similarly, a comprehensive review of North American prevalence studies found that lifetime rates of problem gambling were highest in college and university students (16.4 percent), followed by adolescents (11.8 percent) (Shaffer & Hall, 2001). The elevated rates among youth are likely due to the fact that young adults typically have the highest rates of involvement in most risky behaviors (substance use, reckless driving, unsafe sex, and so on (Eaton et al., 2006). Moreover, today’s youth comprise one of the first generations to have been raised in an environment of extensive legalized and government-sanctioned gambling.
School-based programs are an important part of a general gambling prevention strategy. Therefore, effective school-based programs for the prevention of problem gambling, such as Stacked Deck, must be identified and put into place.
For more information, visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services' "More than a Game" webpage at www.morethanagamenc.com