Why should I be concerned?

It’s easy for parents to make assumptions about their kids’ access to money, the opportunities they have to gamble or their interest in it. Maybe you don’t gamble, or you don’t gamble in front of them, so you think the issue isn’t relevant to your kids. 

But the research might surprise you. 

The age bracket

Young men (18–24 years) bet on sport more than any other age group in Victoria, making up a third of all sports gambling.

It’s important that they, of all demographics, understand the risks before reaching the legal age to bet. 

Harm starts early

The more a person gambles, the more likely they are to experience the negative consequences – also known as gambling harm. The younger they start, the worse the harm will likely be. Currently, one in five adults who experience serious harm from gambling began before they turned 18.

Fitting in

Young people feel enormous pressure to fit in. Like underage drinking and smoking, gambling becomes a real problem when kids see it as normal, because they assume that everyone’s doing it. Gambling ads aim to give betting the same sense of normality.

Ease of access

Gambling is now accessible 24/7 through smartphones and gambling applications. Smartphones put sports gambling at everyone’s fingertips, including kids, making it easier than ever for them to start. 

Exposure

The narratives of sports betting ads make it seem as though there’s no risk. Using ‘cash-back’ and ‘bonus-bet’ offers, getting involved at a lower risk becomes much more appealing for kids. If they’ve got nothing to lose, then why not?

Separate studies have found:

  • An average of 374 gambling ads are broadcast on free-to-air TV daily, with children under 12 the most exposed.1
  • 73 per cent of Victorians aged 12–17 reported seeing gambling ads on TV in the past 30 days.2

1. O’Brien, K & Iqbal, M 2019, Extent of, and children and young people’s exposure to, gambling advertising in sport and non-sport TV, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.

2. Freund, M, Noble, N, Hill, D, White, V, Evans, T, Oldmeadow, C & Sanson-Fisher, R 2019, The prevalence and correlates of gambling in secondary school students in Victoria, Australia, 2017, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.