GambleAware NSW – Talking To Young People About Gambling

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Talking to young people about gambling

Having a conversation with a child or teenager about gambling may seem difficult, but it’s an important discussion to have. You have a lot of influence and can help your child think critically about gambling and make informed decisions.

Things to consider before you start the conversation

Reflect on your own attitude and lead by example

Parents and carers can have the greatest influence on children’s attitudes and behaviours towards gambling. Many parents believe that gambling is harmless fun and don’t set any rules about gambling. This normalises the behaviour and can lead to their child experiencing gambling harm in adulthood.

Understand what influences a young person to gamble

How people participate in gambling is changing. Young people are increasingly exposed to gambling advertising and engage with gambling more easily through social media and video games. This has the potential for them to experience gambling harm more often. It’s important you understand what influences a young person’s gambling attitudes and behaviours.


How to have a conversation with a young person

Follow these tips to make conversations with the children in your care meaningful. Encourage young people to ask questions and let them to express themselves without feeling judged.

Educating about the risks and consequences of gambling is better than a ‘don’t do it’ approach and will foster more open communications with your child. 

Show your child you’re open, and they can talk to you about gambling at any time. Maybe chat in the car on the way to school or sports practice, or when a gambling ad pops up on TV, or if you notice there are loot boxes in a video game they’re playing.

You might be surprised that your child has already formed attitudes to gambling.  If they’re in their teens, they’re likely to have come across gambling online, through social media, and through interaction with their mates. It’s important that all conversations are open, and they have the chance to ask questions.

• Help your child understand the odds of winning are low. They are always in the favour of gambling providers – some more than others. Questions like “Do you know the odds of winning on the pokies?” or “Do you know how much money is spent on sports betting advertising?” can be great conversation starters.

Talk about the sports betting advertising they have seen, for example, the different advertising techniques or celebrities they have noticed in the ads.

Ask them what kind of conversations they have with their friends about sports betting. Do they discuss the odds of one team beating another? Do they bet amongst themselves?

Make sure your child knows there’s a lot to love about sport, and they don’t need to have a bet, or know the odds, to make it exciting.

Have a conversation about what influences attitudes to gambling. Say, the fine line between gaming and gambling. How does gambling show up in the video games they play, and how has technology made it easier to gamble?

Find ways to demonstrate how gambling is risky and can cause harm. Start with the immediate consequences. Your child may relate to not having spending money to buy the things they want. Or they might know friends that got carried away with loot boxes and lost their own or someone else’s money.

Gambling can get out of hand. Your child may have already learnt about drugs and alcohol at school. You can explain that like drugs and alcohol, gambling can be addictive.

You may also want to discuss some early signs that a child, or a young person has an issue with gambling.


Hear what young people think about gambling.

Hear it direct from young people themselves. This 11-part YouTube series delves into how high school students feel about gambling and the increase of gambling advertising in the media.

If you’re worried a child in your care may have an issue with
gambling, there are a range of Professional support for young

GambleAware acknowledges Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of the land and we pay respects to Elders past, present and emerging. GambleAware is an inclusive support service.
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