Are Parents to Blame for Underage Gambling?

hand putting pound coin into fruit machine

The problem of underage gambling is a growing one in the UK and was highlighted in a recent report by the Gambling Commission. Blame has been aimed at too many gambling advertisements on television but could a major lay at the feet of parents who actually encourage their children to gamble? 

The increase in the number of gambling advertisements has sparked interest in gambling for children. Moves are now being made to reduce the numbers but underage gambling on bookies sites is falling. It may well be lower if parents always made sure never to leave their computer unattended with saved passwords.

The report states that only 19% of parents take strict action against their children gambling but their own behaviour is causing problems. 26% of the children surveyed said they’d seen their parent or guardian gambling, thus encouraging them to do the same.  19% of those who had seen their parents gamble, had also gambled themselves in the last week.

Parents are Buying Scratchcards for Children

Perhaps most shocking is the figure that 52% of the underage gamblers were with their parents or guardians when they last gambled.  It seems that children are big fans of the National Lottery, whether it be the lottery draws or scratchcards. How do they purchase them? 58% of 11-15-year-olds said they were with their parents and 77% of those parents made the actual purchase. 

How many of us in the UK when we were children used to play the fruit machines at fairs or in amusement arcades while on holiday? On the surface it was good fun but in reality, it was introducing us to the world of gambling. It’s still happening now, and the report shows that it’s the first gambling activity children experience, and parents often freely allow them to do so.

Underage Bookies

Another worrying area is children becoming bookies themselves. When asked about what types of gambling they’d carried out in the last week, private bets was the winner at 6%. Playing cards for money is popular too. 

Underage gambling is a problem and parents must be more responsible or the problem will grow and grow.

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