Edition #1: Youth and gambling

Old fashioned poker machine with orange fruit and numbers
Old fashioned poker machine with orange fruit and numbers

Why parents should be worried about gambling ads on YouTube

Teenagers are ridiculous! Teenagers are monsters, annoying, selfish, materialistic.

Google 'teenagers are' and this is what you get. Google 'teenagers and gambling' and all you get are links to gambling help pages or academic studies, but very little public debate or commentary.

The issue of teenagers and betting just isn't on the public radar, but many experts say it should be, with the rate of problem gambling among young people approximately double what it is among adults.

A punt in every teen's pocket

Leading academic Samantha Thomas says with every smart phone now putting the means to have a punt in every teen's pocket, parents need to know gambling has changed and what that means for their teenagers.

'Research suggests eight in ten teenagers will try some form of gambling, from playing lotteries to placing a bet, with three to four per cent experiencing problems with gambling.

'Teenagers think gambling is easy, entertaining and fun, and they think they have more of a chance of winning than they really do,' she says.

Sports betting and other gambling companies are also using social media including Facebook, Twitter and especially YouTube.

Did you know?

The top five most influential figures among US teenagers are YouTube stars. YouTube vloggers (that's video bloggers to the rest of us) make up six of the top 10, ahead of movie superstars Jennifer Lawrence, Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio.

You can read more in Inside gambling about Samantha's work and why gambling research is not for the faint hearted.

Helping teens know the risks – without starting World War Three

We recently spoke to a number of parents who said while they had concerns about gambling, especially the associated advertising during sporting events, no-one wants to start World War Three over what their teen is doing on their smart phone.

'I'm friends with them on Facebook,' said one parent, while another admitted he didn't know what his teenagers were doing online.

With the majority of teenagers spending more than five hours a day online (Nielsen Australian Connected Consumers Report 2015*), the explosion of online betting advertising has experts worried about the impact.

Gambler's Help Clinical Manager, Tony Clarkson says teenagers are more vulnerable to the 'easy money' message promoted by the betting agencies.

'Teenagers take risks, it's what they do, partly because they don't really appreciate the consequences of those risks,' he says.

Experts say talking to teens about gambling is just as important as talking to them about drinking or driving too fast.

'Talk to them, even if you don't think there's a problem,' says Tony. 'That way, you can help educate them about the odds and their real chances of winning and help them make better choices down the track.'

Subscribe now to receive the next edition of Inside gambling.

What's the big deal? Talking to teens about gambling

The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has produced two videos with information for parents, along with ideas on how to talk to teenagers about gambling.

Parents' guide

View video transcript

Conversation starters

View video transcript

These videos are based on the award-winning parents' guide What's the big deal: Talking to teens about gambling.

Download the guide (PDF - 859.9 KB)

Conversation starters

Teen is always on social media

Did you know you can bet on Facebook?
Have you seen that YouTube ad for XX sports betting company? What do you think about that?

Teen is obsessed with sport

Is betting changing how we enjoy the game?
What's more important – form or the odds from XX company?
How many betting companies can you name?

Teen has older friends who go to the pub

I know some of your friends are starting to the go to the pub. Do you know if anyone's getting caught up in the pokies?

Find out more about young people and gambling

The foundation website has more information about young people and gambling, including tools and tips for talking to teenagers about the issue.

You can also phone Gambler's Help on 1800 858 858 or Gambler's Help Youthline on 1800 262 376 for support and advice.

* In with the new: connected Aussies embrace new screens, new video, new retail

Related articles

Posting guidelines

To ensure this page is friendly and welcoming for all visitors, we ask that you:

  • be respectful of others and their opinions
  • do not reveal any personal or sensitive information about others, including naming people who are affected by gambling problems
  • do not harass, abuse or threaten others
  • do not post comments that are likely to offend others, particularly in reference to an individual's race, age, gender, sexuality, political leaning, religion or disability
  • do not use obscene or offensive language
  • do not post defamatory comments
  • do not post repeat comments continuously
  • do not repeatedly post information which is factually inaccurate and may mislead others
  • do not promote anything that may constitute spam, such as commercial interests, solicitations, advertisements or endorsements of any non-governmental agency
  • protect your personal privacy by not including email addresses, phone numbers or home addresses.

Any comments that violate these terms will be deleted.