Fri, Oct 11, 1:42am by Kevin Pitstock
A new ad campaign targeted at teenage gambling is getting attention for its provocative content. The public campaign, which was launched this week in the Melbourne market, uses a 12 year old to send home the message “Gambling’s Not a Game”.
The satirical ads are part of a push by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation to raise awareness about the dangers of teen gambling. While it’s illegal for licensed gaming websites to play casino games for real money, underage players have found ways to gamble on unlicensed sites.
Recent studies have shown several ways these websites can be accessed, along with the fact teen gambling is one the rise. Serge Sard, the CEO of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, says Australians are exposed to 25 million different Internet gambling ads any given week. With the advent of mainstream mobile phones, children spend more time than ever online, and thus are exposed to gambling ads more than most adults.
Online gambling is only part of the problem. Teenagers can engage in gambling offline in underground games among friends. Scratch cards and lottery tickets are their favourite games, though it’s illegal to play the scratchies and lotto. Otherwise, they enjoy playing poker and other card games at home.
The data shows 3% to 4% of all Australian teenagers have a gambling problem. Up to 80% of Australian teenagers have tried gambling at least once, so Australian parents should know their children are likely to have tried betting on games of chance.
Several studies have shown that problem gambling is much more prevalent among teenage players than adult gamblers. Among Aussies, 1% of adult males who gamble have a gambling problem. 5.75% of teenage males engage in problem gambling. Among Australian women, 0.5% of adult females suffer from gambling addiction. The numbers among underage female Australian gamblers is over 6 times as much, at 3.2%.
Researchers say teenagers have difficulty assessing the true risks of betting money, so they are more prone to facing difficulties when doing so. Teenagers often lack an understanding of the value of money and they’re more prone to impulsive behaviour. Teenagers dealing with problem gambling sometimes lose friends, cause their families financial problems, and have difficulty with their studies.
Also, problem gambling starts much earlier than many people think. 20% of adult gamblers said they were gambling before they were 18, despite the practice being outlawed in all parts of Australia. Parents should know their children can find opportunities to gamble, if they so choose.
Studies show parents are part of the problem. People are being urged to bet through billboards and at sporting events. The message is often that gambling is part of being a sports fan. Thus, a campaign which warns teenagers of the potential dangers which come along with gambling are important to the VRGF.
The advertisements in question show children as young as 12 discussing the issue of gambling. Whether teenagers are likely to listen to tweens discuss the issue is up for debate, but these commercials should target those at the greatest risk: tweens and young teenagers.
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