I Didn’t Know That! The Scoop on Youth Gaming and Gambling (Webinar Recording)

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I Didn’t Know That! The Scoop on Youth Gaming and Gambling
Heather Eshleman, MPH, John Schmidt, BS, CPRS, and Maricel Bernardo, MSM-HCA

March 2, 2023, 1:00pm-2:30pm EST


With games such as League of Legends, Fortnite, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, youth, and young adults are often competitors or viewers of these popular games through E-Sports tournaments. In addition, within the last few years, sports betting has become legal in 32 states, including all the Central East PTTC states. These activities are heavily advertised through billboards, television, pop-up computers, and cell phone ads. With the growth of video gaming and gambling activities in communities across America and online, how does it affect youth and young adults? Middle school, high school, and college students can be at risk of being negatively affected by gaming, gambling, and activities that include a mix of both in their daily lives. This webinar will discuss the prevalence and trends in youth gaming and gambling and the warning signs of problems with these activities. An overview of strategies to prevent youth problem gaming and gambling behavior and resources for help in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia will be presented.


  • Recognize youth gaming and signs of gaming problems in youth/ young adults.
  • Describe youth gambling and signs of gambling problems in youth/ young adults.
  • Distinguish how youth/young adult gaming and gambling behaviors connect.
  • Identify problem gaming and gambling prevention strategies implemented in West Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland.
  • Identify resources for help with a gaming and/or gambling problem.


Heather EshlemanHeather Eshleman, MPH., is the Prevention Manager at the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling.  She works collaboratively with community organizations, schools, and government agencies to prevent underage and problem gambling as well as oversee special population and youth grants.  She currently leads the Center’s efforts in compiling an underage and problem gambling prevention needs assessment to provide baseline data to guide future prevention strategies.  She served as the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Supervisor at the Anne Arundel County Department of Health from 2006-2019, overseeing the Substance Abuse Prevention coalitions, the Opioid Misuse Prevention Program, the Strengthening Families Program, the Fatal Overdose Review Team, and Coordination of the Students Against Destructive Decisions Chapters.  Before becoming Supervisor, from 2002-2006, Heather was a Grants Administrator at Anne Arundel County Department of Health.  Heather received her Masters in Public Health from the University at Albany School of Public Health and her Bachelor’s degree in School and Community Health Education from Towson University.  Heather served in the United States Peace Corps in Morocco, North Africa, as a Maternal and Child Health volunteer, working on hygiene promotion and pre-natal care for two years.


John SchmidtJohn Schmidt, BS, CPRS,  is currently the Prevention Services Coordinator for Youth for the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems, conducting presentations at middle and high schools throughout Delaware to inform students of disordered gambling and its connection to the gambling mechanics within video games and cell phones. John is clinically trained in the area of disordered gaming and also earned his certification in Studies in Gambling Addiction through the University of Minnesota Duluth. He also conducts research in partnership with the University of Delaware in the area of gambling and video gaming with Delaware middle and high school students via in-depth surveys.


Maricel BernardoMaricel Bernardo, MS, is the Program Coordinator for the  Problem Gambling Help Network of West Virginia (PGHNWV) at First Choice Services. She has worked in problem gambling since 2018 and has assisted many problem gamblers and their loved ones. She oversees PGHNWV’s prevention and outreach activities. Maricel works closely with the PGHNWV Prevention Grantees, Collegiate Recovery Network PRSS and other prevention groups to promote problem gambling education and awareness to the youth and community. She is a member of NCPG and serves on the  Prevention and Communication Committees as well as the NAADGS Prevention Workgroup.  Maricel has a Master of Science in Management-Healthcare Administration from Marshall University and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from West Virginia University.


March 2, 2023
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