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Stop Kids Gambling

Mention kids gambling and few parents know what to say. However, at least 55,000 children, aged 11-16, mainly boys have a serious gambling problem. Children start their gambling interest with video games that offer rewards. Horses and football can be the hook for young people’s gambling problems growing out of control. Have you talked to your children about the perils of gambling?


Is this right?

You must be over 18 (an adult) to commercially gamble in the UK, except:

  • 16 and over can buy National Lottery products, including scratch cards and online instant wins;
  • No age restrictions on category-D games machines, which include fruit machines (bizarre).

A harmless flutter

Researchers’ found that 40% of Welsh school children, aged 11 to 16, have gambled in the past year. Playing fruit machines was the most popular, followed by playing cards for money with friends and then scratch cards. This form of gambling may seem harmless fun, but big sporting events normalises gambling.

Tips to talk a gambler down

  1. Highlight the risks, as the promise of winning money is attractive, but people lose large sums if their gambling gets out of hand.
  2. Lead by example, as parents buying lottery tickets, scratch cards or betting on the horses normalises gambling in their kids’ eyes.
  3. Communication is key, as most problem gamblers stated that a lack of communication is what allowed their gambling habit to go unnoticed.
  4. Create a safe space and do not judge children if they feel that they may have a gambling issue (most do not).
  5. Reassure them, given the many networks and organisations there to support gambling issues.

The UK Gambling Commission states that video game loot boxes are not gambling under British law. Loot boxes are mystery items embedded within games that can be purchased for randomised rewards, including skins which change the appearance of a character. The Commission has warned that the line between gambling and gaming is becoming increasingly blurred and parents should remain vigilant.

Visit at  or call the UK call centre 0333 323 0098 for more information.

Important: if you feel that your child has a gambling habit, then visit Gambleaware for further information.



Date: 01 February 2021 by max robinson