Where: at home, online, with friends

poker_chipsA 2005 study of Manitoba students found that youth are gambling mostly at home (Mackay, Patton, & Broszeit, 2005). Canadian studies have found that up to 78% of children gamble at home (Gupta & Derevensky, 1997)!

  • Healthy Suggestion: A great way to encourage healthy behaviours in your child(ren) is to be involved in their lives. Since most youth gamble at home, make it your job to know what is happening both when you are at home with your child(ren), and when they are home alone. If you find that your child is gambling at home or elsewhere, talk to them about healthy gambling and offer yourself as a supportive resource.

According to the same Manitoba study, most students who gamble do so with their friends (23.8%) (Mackay, Patton, & Broszeit, 2005). Other Canadian studies have found that between 55 – 82% of youth gamble with their friends (Hardoon & Derevensky, 2001).

  • Healthy Suggestion: Whether your child is gambling or not, it is always a good idea to know your child’s friends. Talk to your child about his or her friends, and get to know the parents of your child’s friends. Work as a team with other parents to promote healthy gambling habits in your child’s peer group.

Gambling with parents or other family members is also very popular with youth. In fact, a 1997 study found that 86% of children who gamble regularly do so with family members (Gupta and Derevensky, 1997). Other Canadian studies have indicated that between 40% – 68% of youths gamble with family members (Hardoon & Derevensky, 2001).

  • Healthy Suggestion: Take a moment to think about the messages you are sending to your child(ren) through your own actions. Children are likely to follow your example, so practice healthy gambling yourself. Ask yourself what message you are sending to your children if you give them scratch lotto tickets for Christmas, birthdays, or other occasions.

Only a small number of students surveyed said that they were gambling in bars or casinos (Mackay, Patton, & Broszeit, 2005).

  • Healthy Suggestion: Because most youth are unable to gain entrance to bars or casinos due to provincial laws requiring patrons be age 18 or above, this gives parents and guardians a great opportunity to teach healthy gambling before youth reach the age of majority. Talk about healthy gambling with your child(ren), and lead by example by practicing healthy gambling habits yourself.

Many youth gamble at school. It is not unusual for schools to have raffles or draws for prizes to raise money for the school.

  • Healthy Suggestion: If you as a parent or guardian are uncomfortable with school- organized gambling activities, try suggesting other ways for the school to fund-raise that are non-gambling oriented, fun, and active (i.e. bake-sales, dance-a-thons, etc.).

Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. (1997). Familial and Social Influences on Juvenile Gambling Behaviour. Journal of Gambling Studies, 13(3), 179-192.
Hardoon, K. K., & Derevensky, J. L. (2001). Social Influences Involved in Children’s Gambling Behaviour. Journal of Gambling Studies, 17(3), 191-215.
Mackay, T.-L., Patton, D., & Broszeit, B. (2005). Student Gambling Report. Manitoba: Addictions Foundation of Manitoba.