Thanks in large part to the proliferation of internet sites devoted to the topic, experts say millions of American teens are taking up an ever-more-accessible national pastime: gambling.

Much of the action is small-time underage buying of lottery tickets, or playing cards or dice games for spare change. But experts say the long-term stakes are high, because gamblers who start young are the most likely to become addicted.

"This is the first generation of kids growing up when gambling is legal and available virtually nationwide," said George Meldrum of the


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