How to educate your children about gambling

Sep 7, 2018 by

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Gambling and betting are becoming more commonplace in American and world society.  For decades, movies, book and TV shows have depicted the glamorous, sometimes dark side of illicit gambling.

But now, the Supreme Court’s ruling to reverse previous federal law forbidding sports gambling will allow for the proliferation of sports betting in America.  What was previously cornered to Las Vegas and illegal sports bookies has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Sports betting websites offer patrons the ability to bet on all sports ranging from obscure soccer leagues to Aussie rules football.  Even political gambling is on offer for willing participants. Supporters of every league and sport are able to bet money on their team on a variety of sites.

Fantasy sports are also increasingly a fixture in American sports, and websites encourage fans to participate with friends in leagues for money.  March Madness bracket pools are a national pastime, and children participate in school organized bracket betting as much as adults take part in their office pool.

The new legality in many states will only serve to legitimize an already booming industry and perhaps grow the government’s tax revenue.  And while children may not be gambling online currently, it would be irresponsible for educators to ignore the growth of gambling and the likelihood that many of their students will stake money at some point online.

Teaching children to manage money can serve as a less controversial way to educate children about gambling.  If proper financial habits are taught, future gamblers will be less likely to make bets beyond their financial reach.

The National Center for Responsible Gambling advises discussing gambling with your children before they engage in risky behavior.  The organization recognizes that many young people are participating in gambling whether they are legally permitted to or not.

Often times, children are more impulsive than adults, and they have a worse understanding as to the value of money.  This is why gambling is mostly illegal for those under 21, and gambling organizations are strict about not allowing younger participants to bet.

But, gambling can still occur in a variety of ways for young people, and they will become adults in a society that has more gambling.  So, early education about the topic is vital.

UK schools have even been advised to teach about the risks involved in gambling.  A pilot program was launched in order to target the most high-risk young gamblers and impart wisdom upon them about how to more responsibly handle their money.

The program is perhaps slightly more controversial, but one cannot ignore the prevalence of youth and gambling.  Pretending as if children do not gamble is ill-advised.  So, responsible gambling courses may become more commonplace in schools.

Video games are also an arena where children are exposed to many aspects of gambling.  Sports games like FIFA have drawn the ire of Belgian and Dutch officials for flouting gambling rules.  Some countries may be taking a tougher stance, but in large part video games have been allowed to operate without blowback.

Many video games like FIFA offer loot boxes that players can buy in order to unlock more content within the game.  In FIFA, players can purchase packs containing players using real or in-game money.  FIFA and other loot box games have faced a backlash as many parents and players believe the packs constitute gambling, and they are available to younger players.

Gambling and sports betting can be controversial topics, but it is no doubt that they are here to stay.  Educators will need to learn how to teach children how to responsibly move in a world where gambling and betting will be widely available in day-to-day life.

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