Talking to your son about gambling

Today, most of Victoria has a holiday for a horse race. And whether it’s in a family sweep or an online bet on the trifecta, many will also have a flutter on the big race. For most, it’s a harmless bit of fun only indulged in during the Spring Carnival.

However, there is another much more serious side to gambling – and your teenage son could be at risk.

Fast facts: gambling and teens*

  • 1 in 5 adults with gambling problems started gambling before they were 18.
  • Boys are more likely to gamble than girls, and are also more likely to place bigger bets.
  • 3-4% of teenagers have problems with gambling. That’s 1 in every high school class of 25 students.
  • Gambling advertising on TV and at sports grounds is so widespread it is unavoidable.
  • The internet along with smart phones, tablets, apps and online banking mean gambling is available 24/7, no matter where you are.

Conversations starters

Talking to your son about gambling and the risks associated with gambling can help him make better choices down the track.

Here are 7 conversation starters from The Victorian Responsible Gambling website

  1. Did you know Facebook now has gambling?
  2. Is gambling advertising changing the way we enjoy sport?
  3. What’s the drama about live odds in sports coverage?
  4. How many different ways to gamble are there?
  5. Did you know it is illegal to gamble if you are under 18?
  6. Is gambling more ‘in your face’ than ever?
  7. Is peer pressure about gambling increasing?

Worried your son might have a problem? The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation website has great resources for parents and teens.

Or you can call the Gambler’s Help Youthline on 1800 262 376 for advice on how to approach the conversation. Youthline staff can also help you revisit the subject if your first attempt to talk to your son went a bit pear shaped.

*Facts and stats taken from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation website and online resources, November 2017.


Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

This article is about