Parents

Gambling advertising is changing the way our kids see sport.

The facts

  • Many teens try gambling and there's a good chance your teen has too.
  • Almost four per cent of teenagers have issues with gambling.
  • One in five adults with gambling issues started gambling before they were 18.

There are a number of myths surrounding gambling. Let’s debunk a few of them.

Myth 1

Sports betting ads don’t encourage kids to want to gamble as they’re not targeted to them.

Research found nearly a quarter of adolescents said they are more likely to gamble on other forms of gambling after seeing sports betting advertisements1

1 Thomas, S, Bestman, A, Pitt, H, Stoneham, M, and Daube, M, 2016, '"It's just everywhere!" Children and parents discuss the marketing of sports betting in Australia'. Australian New Zealand Journal of Public Health, Epub ahead of print.

Myth 2

Adults are more exposed to gambling than kids.

Research found that exposure to gambling advertising was higher for 13 to 17 year olds than adults2

2 Hare, S, 2015, Study of Gambling and Health in Victoria: findings from the Victorian prevalence study 2014 Victoria, Australia: Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation.

Myth 3

Betting on sports isn’t as risky as other forms of gambling because it involves skill.

Knowing a lot about a certain game of sport doesn’t guarantee a win. The best goal scorer doesn’t always kick the most goals, the favourite in a horse race doesn’t always win. It doesn’t matter how much you know, or your perceived “skill” level, because there’s no such thing as a sure bet.

What can you do?

Talk to young people about gambling. It'll give them a chance to understand what gambling is about so they can make better choices down the track.

Information, tools and tips

Top five things to remember

  1. Teen attitudes about  betting is shaped by advertising, their friends, adults around them, easy access and games that look like gambling.
  2. You can help them develop a balanced, informed and healthy understanding of how gambling works, and the risks involved.
  3. Talk to them about gambling harm - you don't need to be an expert on the topic to start a conversation.
  4. Talk sooner rather than later because even though they’re underage, teens are five times more likely than adults to develop an issue with gambling.
  5. You can reduce exposure to pro-gambling messages. And encourage them to think critically about the gambling promotion they see, so they understand that behind these promotions is a business seeking to make a profit.

Video - Talking to teens about gambling - conversation starters

View video transcript

Conversation starter examples

If you're a parent, bringing up the subject of gambling with your kids can be difficult. Here are some conversation starters that could help

You’re watching sport together and see lots of betting ads

Have you noticed all these betting ads? Does it make it seem harmless or easy to win?

Watching TV together you see a sports betting ad talking about money back offers

Why do you think a betting agency is offering to give money back? Do you think betting companies use special offers to encourage you to keep gambling?

At times when betting is heavily promoted like footy finals season

Do you think people feel they have to gamble to enjoy the races or footy?

Before going out with their friends

Do you think your friends do risky things like gambling to fit in?

They start earning their own money

Did you know on average Australians spend more than $1000 a year on gambling? What would you spend that on? Would you be willing to risk missing out on concert tickets, a trip away or the latest smartphone update?

They’re playing on their phone or tablet

Ask if you can look at the trending games in the Apple store or on Google Play together and see if you can spot games that look like gambling. Tell them these might be using inflated odds to give false confidence. Mention how small in-app purchases can add up quickly.

Around their 18th birthday

When you can legally gamble, how will you avoid harm? Suggest setting a limit and not letting others encourage you to gamble more.

Modelling healthy attitudes towards gambling

Your children copy you. Whether they choose to copy the good, bad, embarrassing or funny things you do, they notice. It's the same when it comes to betting, your attitudes and behaviour can shape theirs, both in positive and negative ways.

Three ways to reduce exposure to gambling

  1. Consider installing a filter on home computers and tablets to block gambling websites. A Google search for ‘parental filters’ will list available programs and reviews. Examples include cyberpatrol.com and gamblock.com.
  2. Encourage teens to have interests that don’t involve digital devices and consider limiting screen time.
  3. Ask them to use computers, phones or tablets in the family areas so you can see what they’re viewing.

When setting boundaries around gambling content, talk with your teens. They may not agree but at least they'll know where you stand and why it’s important.

Signs to look out for

It can be difficult to tell if a teen has a gambling issue. Signs to look out for include:

  • obsessing over simulated gambling apps and games
  • borrowing or taking money from family and friends
  • obsessing about odds when watching sport instead of focusing on the game
  • suffering forms of depression, including isolation from friends

For more information see our what to look for page.

Need advice?

Take the quiz to find out more about the risks.

6 super easy ways to communicate with your teenager

Do teenagers do what we say or watch what we do?

Managing our teenagers’ online obsessions

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