Did anyone watch Insight on SBS last week? There was a vigorous and informative discussion on youth gambling (Insight – Youth Gambling).
Gambling is a popular pastime in Australia and Australian youth are no exception with a participation rate of 70-80%. However one in every twenty young Australians will experience problems with gambling before they are 25, and a further one in six are at risk of developing gambling problems. Young people are at least five times more likely to develop gambling problems compared to the general adult population, and almost ten times more likely to be at risk. These are sobering statistics.
Young men are much more likely to have gambling problems than young women. Amongst the young male population, international students are particularly vulnerable due to social isolation and cultural factors. One in ten male international students gamble at problematic levels.
Over recent years we have seen a major shift in how people gamble. Sports and online gambling are becoming more popular, at the expense of traditional mediums such as poker machines. The boom in online gambling makes gambling much more accessible and available. The new mediums naturally draw in young people due to their strong connections with sporting culture and the internet.
So what’s the takeaway from all this if you are a young person who likes to gamble? Be informed about the bets you are making and the games you play. Learn the odds, the probabilities of winning (and losing) and keep track of your wins and losses – Gambling Help have a mobile phone app to help you set a gambling budget and stick to it. If you find yourself spending more money and time than you can afford, then it’s a good idea to talk to someone about it.
People who experience problems with gambling don’t often seek help, and young people are even more reluctant than the average adult. A conversation now can prevent a lot of problems down the track. Stay safe, be informed and talk to someone if you think you are in trouble.
Gambling Help provide free and confidential support and treatment. You can call Gambling Help around the clock on 1800 858 858 or visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au for more information.