For most people, the visual picture of a gambler is someone playing the pokies, or at the casino. But according to a recent study led by Deakin University, three out of four children who watch sport are making a strong association between enjoyment of a game and putting money on the result, meaning that the person we typically think of as a ‘gambler’ is getting younger.
This might sound shocking to many parents, but considering the advent of online betting and phone apps, which make gambling easier than ever, it makes sense, because it seems to be everywhere.
Louise Glanville, CEO of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation warns that it’s something parents need to think about earlier than they expect, before habits become ingrained.
“Kids think betting and sport go together. We are working with sporting clubs, schools and individuals in the community to call out this new normal and allows us to talk about the potential risks involved with gambling,” Glanville tells Mamamia.
To help parents, the organisation has a campaign titled “Love the game – not the odds“, designed to inform and encourage parents to break the association between the enjoyment of watching sports, and putting money on a game.
“You might not think your child is associating the enjoyment of sport with betting on the result – but research shows, they may well be,” Glanville says.
“The concern is that research shows the prevalence of sports betting advertising normalises the idea of gambling to young people – and this needs to change.”
According to the VRGF, up to 80 percent of 13 to 17 year olds have gambled. This includes gambling with friends, playing lottery tickets, raffles and sweeps.
Despite age checks in venues and online, teenagers also gamble on the pokies, racing and sports betting, with 12.2 percent of 12 to 17 year olds having placed a bet or gambled for money or prizes on the internet.
The VRGF also reports the following statistics:
- 75 percent of kids aged 8 to 16 who watch sport think betting on it is normal.
- 75 percent of kids aged 8 to 16 who watch sport can name one or more sports betting companies.
- 25 percent who watch sport can name four or more.
- Around 25 percent of young people have participated in sports betting.
- One in five adults with a gambling problem started gambling before 18 years of age.
The “Love the Game” initiative is a resource for parents, sporting clubs, schools, and the community to understand and prevent the impact of gambling advertising in sport on young people, and the potential risks involved with gambling.
In 2018, for the first time, all 10 Victorian AFL clubs are on board, signing up to our Love the Game Charter and pledging a commitment to reduce exposure of their fans and members to sports betting.
“We need to show kids how to revelling in the moments that make sport great,” Glanville says.