‘Gambling’s not a game’ highlights gambling risks to kids

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A comprehensive strategy being tested in Victorian schools and sporting clubs and supported by a major advertising campaign is putting the spotlight on gambling and young people.

'Gambling's not a game' is the latest strategy from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation that made headlines earlier this year with its problem gambling campaign Fight for the real you that featured real people with gambling problems.

The strategy is being promoted by a new ad campaign, KidBet, featuring a 12 year old schoolboy promoting a fictional gambling agency 'just for kids'.

Foundation chief executive officer Serge Sardo says the campaign highlights the absurdity of putting young people and gambling together.

"The ad is deliberately provocative because there appears to be a misplaced complacency around the issue," he said.

"Many parents are unaware of how the gambling environment has changed with gambling more accessible and prominent than ever before and increasing the risk for everyone, especially young people," said Mr Sardo.

Research shows that young people are at risk of developing gambling problems because they may not understand the risks of gambling and are less able to resist advertising messages.

"Today's young person is exposed to a gambling environment that presents a different set of temptations, challenges and dangers than was experienced by their parents.

"We're hoping our strategy will give parents the tools they need to respond to that challenge," he said.

Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation, Edward O'Donohue, says the Foundation is breaking new ground.

"The issue of gambling and its impact on our sporting culture has been front and centre for our community this year and this strategy tackles it on a number of fronts. 

"It's raising community awareness as well as providing solutions, it's talking directly to teenagers and their parents and there are new resources and support services," he said.

The 'Gambling's not a game' strategy includes:

  • An education program for schools, parents and teachers - now being piloted with a number of regional and metropolitan schools,
  • A responsible gambling program for sporting clubs – clubs are signing up to a new Responsible Gambling Charter and are being offered support to minimise the impact of gambling in their clubs,  
  • A guide for parents 'What's the big deal? Talking to teens about gambling' – the guide will be available online and will be distributed directly to households through two major newspapers,
  • kidbet.com.au -  a new website full of information and resources for anyone wanting to find out more,
  • A discussion paper presenting the evidence, the issues and the rationale for future action.

The Foundation has also launched a new hotline directly for young people through its established Gambler's Help telephone counselling service.  The free and confidential Gambler's Help Youthline (1800 262 376) will be answered by qualified and experienced counsellors.

What the research says

  • One in five adults with gambling problems started gambling before they were 18
  • Three to four per cent of teenagers have problems with gambling.  That's one in every high school class of 25 students
  • Teenagers are four times more likely to develop gambling problem than adults
  • Boys are more likely to gamble and develop problems than girls
  • Parents' gambling behaviour and attitudes may influence whether a teenager is likely to gamble before they are 18
  • Spending on sports betting advertising reportedly increased 300 per cent between 2010 and 2012
  • In 2012, there were reportedly 20,000 sports betting ads on free to air TV

For more information visit www.kidbet.com.au or www.responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au

Free, confidential help is available for gamblers and their families:

For more information/interviews:

Michelle Bryne
Strategic Communications Manager
ph: 03 9452 2619   m: 0437 471 807

Ingelise Jones
Senior Communications Adviser
ph: 03 9452 2616

Download the media release

'Gambling’s not a game' highlights gambling risks to kids (PDF - 57.5 KB)

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