Gambling – How do you talk about it?
Parents or trustworthy adults are the best people to have initial conversations about responsible gambling with young people. A relationship of trust and honesty is important in making room for young people to ask questions.
The purpose of an initial conversation should be to find out whether the person has any thoughts or opinions on gambling, establish it as a behavior which requires responsibility, and let the person know that you are happy to talk to them in a non-judgemental way.
A good time to bring up problem gambling might be when talking about drugs/alcohol, around discussions on chance and probability, or when gambling is advertised to them in the media. Young people are exposed to gambling from young ages, so use your judgement to see when a young person is ready to have the conversation.
This conversation shouldn’t be a one-off. Keep bringing the topic up, so that the young person understands it’s OK to discuss gambling and problems with gambling openly
Know the facts
Most gambling is illegal for under 18 years olds. Lottery tickets and scratchcards are legal aged 16, and some machines can be played at any age. The law is put in place to protect young people from the risks of gambling having a serious impact in their lives.
If you intend to have a conversation about responsible gambling, it might be helpful to use the prompts below:
- 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?
- Discussing gambling apps or social gaming: Is this gambling or gaming? What is the difference? Why does it matter?
- At times when betting is heavily promoted like football finals season: Do you think people feel they have to gamble to enjoy the races or football?
- Before going out with their friends: Do you think your friends do risky things like gambling to fit in?
Information, tools and tips
Top tips to remember:
- Teen attitudes about betting are shaped by advertising, their friends, adults around them, easy access and games that look like gambling.
- You can help them develop a balanced, informed and healthy understanding of how gambling works, and the risks involved.
- Talk to them about gambling harm – you don’t need to be an expert on the topic to start a conversation.
- Talk sooner rather than later – even though they’re underage, teens are five times more likely than adults to develop an issue with gambling.
- You can reduce exposure to pro-gambling messages. 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.
If you consider the person to be at risk