Nationwide  – A study is under way to determine the extent of problem gambling in New Mexico, and whether more young people are being drawn in because today’s casino games are increasingly likely to resemble video games.

Rebecca Beardsley, president of the Responsible Gaming Association of New Mexico, said the study examines the possibility that advances in technology are putting young people at risk for gambling addiction because they were raised in the age of electronics.

She said since the last study in 2006, technology has dramatically changed the gaming industry.

“And they seem to be catering more to the younger, up-and-coming gamblers,” Beardsley said. “And so, what they’re doing with a lot of the slot machines is they are modeling them after video games.”

The study is financed by the Responsible Gaming Association of New Mexico, a group created and funded by several tribes to help combat problem gambling.

The World Health Organization announced in December it will begin listing “gaming disorder” as a disease in new health guidelines to be published later this year. According to the WHO, the condition applies to those who play video games compulsively for long periods of time.

Beardsley said the gaming association wants to know whether more needs to be done to prevent a new generation from becoming compulsive gamblers.

“So, it’s not just so much, are the kids going to start going into a casino? It’s are the kids being set up to be at risk for an addiction such as gambling?” she said.

More information on problem gambling is available at The 24-hour gambling hotline can be reached at 888-696-2440.

Roz Brown, Public News Service