How To Protect Minors From Gambling
Recently, underage gambling has experienced exponential growth. In this article, we will see which steps we can take to protect minors from gambling addiction.
- Effects of Underage Gambling
- Causes of Gambling among Youths
- A Legal View of the Problem of Underage Gambling
- Measures Taken by the UK Gambling Commission Against Non-Complying Operators
- Online Casinos’ Regulations for Minimizing this Trend
- What Can Parents Do to Help Their Children Avoid Developing a Gambling Addiction?
- A Rundown of What We Know So Far
Effects of Underage Gambling
Underage gambling has serious adverse effects on teens and minors, and if left unchecked, the impact of gambling on youths could significantly damage the child’s adult life.
This is why the importance of proper nurturing of children cannot be overemphasised, as underage gambling could have some of the following effects:
- Poor social life
- Stunted academic growth
- Health and mental complications
- Financial problems
- Addiction issues
Some underage gambling-related activities include arcade games like claw crane, card games like poker, and random activities among their friends.
Causes of Gambling among Youths
Numerous factors contribute to youth gambling, ranging from peer pressure to unfiltered and unmonitored access to gambling sites. Understanding the root cause of gambling among youths can assist in developing effective measures to reduce its effects and promote responsible behaviour among teens and minors.
Peer Pressure from Older Friends
Peer pressure from older friends or family members can significantly contribute to underage gambling. It is normal for youths to want to fit in with their peer group.
They may sometimes feel pressured to participate in activities carried out by their friends, even though these friends are significantly older and may meet the legal requirements to carry out gambling activities.
What Does the Data Show Us?
Reports show that a teen or minor is more likely to partake in online gambling when they find out a friend is more popular or successful due to gambling.
The influence of older friends or family members could directly or indirectly encourage youths to participate in gambling activities by making them look normal or by introducing them to the rewards they can get from partaking in them.
Presence of Gambling Concepts in Video Games
Gambling-like concepts like “loot boxes”, “wheel spins”, and “prize crates” in virtual games could be the reason why some youths lean towards gambling.
Some games also allow players to purchase in-game currencies with real money and spend them virtually, similar to how credits and points are used in casinos to dampen the sense of using actual money.
These gambling-like processes in video games have similar effects to traditional gambling, such as addiction. There have been reported cases of underage children stealing from adults to fund their in-game accounts.
Unmonitored Internet Access
Another factor contributing to underage gambling is the rise of casinos which can be accessed via the Internet. Casinos with physical locations can fish out underage gamblers more accurately, meanwhile, young children can easily bypass online sites with weak verification systems.
Sites and adverts also use various techniques to improve the overall gambling experience and lure more under-aged gamblers.
Some of these techniques include using creative advertisements with attractive visuals and sound effects or including popular figures to endorse gambling sites or products.
A Legal View of the Problem of Underage Gambling
While gambling in itself is not an illegal activity, as long as the gamblers meet the proper age requirements and the operators comply with the consumer protection laws laid down by agencies like the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC).
Statistics on Underage Gambling
- 31% of children between 11 and 16 spent their own money on gambling
- Most of these gambling activities were legal, and of the 31% above, arcade games, friendly bets, and card games represent 22, 15, and 5 per cent, respectively
- 78% of the youths involved regarded gambling as a fun activity
The statistics and figures provided below are based on the gambling commission’s report on underage gamblers in 2022.
Measures Taken by the UK Gambling Commission Against Non-Complying Operators
Casino operators that refuse to comply with policies enforced by the UKGC to reduce underage gambling are subjected to the following measures:
Once an operator or online casino violates the terms of the UKGC policies, the first step taken by the UKGC is to offer a public warning. This alerts the operator to the breach in the license contract and explains the further steps that will be taken if such a violation occurs.
If the violation of UK Gambling Commission policies by the operator or online casino persists even after multiple warnings, the next step is to revoke the company’s license. This means the company is prohibited from operating, and all its activities are considered illegal.
If the company ignores the warnings and continues to operate even without a license, the next step taken by the UKGC is to assign a monetary penalty to the operators.
If the company cannot provide the required amount in a specific period, the company and all its branches and sites are forcefully shut down.
What Is the Penalty for Underage Gambling?
Penalties for underage gambling imposed on the individual carrying out the gambling activities include fines of up to £1000. The winnings, if any, of the user will also be confiscated.
The youth may be banned from the gambling premises, have their driver’s license suspended, or even be required to observe community service or serve short jail sentences.
Online Casinos’ Regulations for Minimizing this Trend
Top online casinos have put forward various regulations to minimise the occurrence of gambling among young people.
A core example of these regulations is the implementation of checks and verification processes to ensure that users meet the appropriate age requirements before being allowed access to their sites and top casino bonuses.
In the same way, top casino bonus sites also take various measures to educate children about the hazards and dangers accompanying gambling addictions and promote tools such as deposit limits, time-out sessions, cool-off periods, and self-exclusion to ensure responsible gambling among youth and adult gamblers.
What Can Parents Do to Help Their Children Avoid Developing a Gambling Addiction?
Parents and guardians play crucial roles in assisting children under their care to avoid developing unhealthy gambling activities like addiction.
Here are some of the steps they can take:
Install a Control App
Parents can install control apps on their child’s devices to limit their access to harmful sites which may contain gambling content and serve as an extra layer of protection for their kids against underage gambling.
These apps work by filtering the results from online searches, preventing the child from accidentally stumbling upon these sites while casually surfing the internet.
Provide Information and Support
Parents should also provide their children with adequate information on the potential risks and harms associated with gambling and encourage them to make responsible choices.
Youths with gambling addictions need all the help they can get to overcome it, and parents should be able to supply their children with all the support they need as they struggle against the temptations to gamble.
Encourage Healthy Activities
Other than getting rid of harmful gambling activities, parents can also encourage their children to engage in healthy activities like sports, creative hobbies, and social activities, which can serve as replacements for their gambling activities as well as help them develop meaningful life coping skills and other ways to deal with stress or boredom.
Seek Professional Help
If all the steps mentioned above add up to no noticeable changes, parents should reach out and seek professional help. This includes speaking with a healthcare professional or counsellor specialising in underage gambling addiction.
Professionals likely have experience with this type of case. They can provide more detailed guidance and support for the affected child and their parents by helping develop specialised plans to combat the addiction.
A Rundown of What We Know So Far
Underage gambling is a growing concern requiring quick action and responses. Along with its numerous adverse effects on teens and minors, it can drastically impact their social life, academic growth, and mental health. It could cause problems for them in the later stages of their lives.
Some dominant causes of underage gambling are peer pressure and unfiltered exposure to gambling concepts and processes from video games and the internet.
Government agencies and online casino operators have taken multiple measures to curb the trend of underage gambling.
Still, even you, as a parent or guardian, can contribute to this movement by using control apps, encouraging healthy activities, and seeking professional help. All these efforts may not mean much individually, but combined, the dream of stopping teens and minors from engaging in gambling activities can become a reality.
What Is Underage Gambling?
Underage gambling is when teens and minors below the legal age limits participate in gambling activities. It is illegal in most countries and can have serious legal or health consequences.
How Can Parents Prevent Their Children from Underage Gambling?
Parents can prevent their children, teens, or minors from underage gambling by taking preventive measures such as using control or monitoring apps, educating and supporting them, encouraging them to participate in other fun activities, and seeking out professional help in extreme cases.
What Are the Effects of Gambling on Youth?
The drastic effects of gambling on youths include poor academic performance, the tendency to carry out criminal activities, financial difficulties, degrading social life, health issues, and the development of addiction and other unhealthy habits.
What Are the Legal Consequences of Underage Gambling?
Underage gambling is illegal in most countries of the world. Although the required ages may differ slightly, underage gamblers usually suffer the same forms of punishment: fines, prohibitions, community service, and criminal charges.
What Are the Steps Taken by Online Casinos to Curb Underage Gambling?
Steps taken by online casinos to minimise underage gambling include implementing age verification checks, advanced authentication systems, and various promotions to enlighten children about the adverse effects of gambling.
How Are Non-Complying Casino Operators Dealt with?
Online casino operators that do not comply with the terms and conditions set in place to prevent underage gambling are first hit with a series of warnings, followed by license revoking, and finally, with legal monetary fines, which could lead to the government shutting down the casino’s operations.