A new report from the Australian Psychological Society demonstrates that teenagers in Australia are taking on their parents gambling habits. The report detailed that 60% of teenagers between 13 and 17 years old gamble at least once per year. Moreover, the report suggests that exposure to wagering by any adult, but especially the father increases the jeopardy that a child will become a gambling addict later in life.
Associate Professor Paul Delfabbro, co-author to the study, admonished that teenagers already have too much exposure to internet gambling in Australia. Professor Delfabbro elaborated “All the time they are reminded of the opportunity to gamble and this awareness, in addition to opportunities like at poker machines or betting at the TAB, can pose risks for young people.”
The professor fears that even teaching children how to play online poker in Australia normalizes gambling. He declared “All the evidence shows that we do what our parents do, and if kids are learning casino-style card games that teach them how to gamble, they will repeat that behaviour elsewhere.”
Delfabbro encourages parents to have grown-up discussions with children regarding gambling risks and the odds of success. He suggests “The important thing is that young people should recognise the nature of the industry is to make a profit like any other business…. The industry knows how to ensure that they make money from your behaviour.”
Parents are warned by Delfabbro against advising children that they won’t have a short term win. He explained “In order to lose large amounts of money, most people have to win big first…. The problem is that gamblers can’t win in the longer term.”
Mark Henley, a spokesman for UnitingCare Wesley, concurred that children were especially vulnerable to internet gambling. According to him “Young people are much more tech-savvy than their parents and with online gambling you don’t even need to leave the house…. The fact is if parents are gambling in any form, children are more likely to gamble too.” Henley lumped education about gambling with education about sex and drugs, suggesting children should be taught at school.
Australian gambling laws prohibit both teenagers and adults from gambling at online casinos in Australia, but adults who wish to wager on the internet are free to use gambling sites hosted in other nations.