Talking to children about gambling is a tricky subject.
We all agree that underage people shouldn’t gamble or view gambling in a positive light. Gambling at a young age is detrimental to development and extremely unwise, as underage people don’t have the cognitive function to deal with it.
But how do you broach the topic? And is there anything you should be doing to take preventative measures to stop children from gambling?
We’re going to discuss all of that in these frequently asked questions.
Frequently asked questions: talking to children about gambling
What age can people gamble?
This depends on your jurisdiction. In some places, for example the UK, it’s 18 years of age. In other places, for example most states in the United States, the minimum age is 21.
Can a minor set up an online gambling account?
In practice, this is quite difficult to do. These days, there are age verification tools and identification confirmation tools that make it tough for a child to sign up to an account. They are strictly enforced, so if a company or regulatory authority suspects a child is using an account, the account is frozen and all winnings associated with the account are forfeited.
How do you start talking to children about gambling?
This is a difficult subject area to broach, we understand that. The best thing to do is start small and age appropriate. If you see an advertisement for betting while watching sports together, you can use that opportunity to educate you child.
Make sure you tell them that gambling doesn’t increase enjoyment of sports. And the way odds are set up, over time, you’re much more likely to lose money than win money.
When should you gamble around your child?
Never. That includes gambling online or placing a bet in a betting shop. Children mimic what the adults in their lives do, so lead by example and don’t gamble around your children.
How can I keep my children out of my online gambling accounts?
Make sure that you don’t have an automatic log in or saved password for any online gambling account. Don’t use a password that your child might know.
Is there software I can use to limit what my child sees on their device?
Yes, there is. When you’re starting this process, set up parental controls on any device they use. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, TVs. It doesn’t have to be theirs exclusively, but if they use it, make sure there is some level of controls.
You can also get external software to help shield your child even further. These include NetNanny, or the gambling specific GamBlock. However, there may be an additional charge.
Getting help for a gambling problem
If you think you or someone close to you has a gambling problem, it is of the utmost importance that you get the help you need.
Organizations such as the National Council of Problem Gambling in the United States can help. When you need them, simply give them a call on or use their online supports to make a start. Alternatively, if you’re based outside the United States, here are just some of the international organizations you can reach out to.
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