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Fri, 27 November 2020

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Education about gambling starts too late. We need to change that

Education about gambling starts too late. We need to change that

Credit: PA Images

Andrea Borbely, Spokesperson | Football Index

3 min read Partner content

There needs to be earlier outreach that provides age-appropriate educational tools to help individuals understand what gambling is and the risks associated with this particular form of entertainment.

This week marks the start of Safer Gambling week, a yearly initiative that aims to promote responsible gambling.

During this week, educational resources and tools to help people gamble in a responsible way will be widely disseminated by various organisations, both in the gambling and non-profit sphere, while the signs of problem gambling will also be highlighted in an attempt to reach those individuals most in need of help.

However, in our opinion, there needs to be earlier outreach that provides age-appropriate educational tools to help individuals understand what gambling is and the risks associated with this particular form of entertainment.

As a regulated industry, gambling companies, as well as charities that operate in this sector, cannot directly reach out to young people.

This is why we believe that the industry needs to work more closely with the Government to ensure that teachers and youth workers have the appropriate training and material to drive wider conversations about various forms of gambling, as well as about the wider topic of digital resilience in young people.

With children under 18 having nearly constant and easy access to the internet, they are more likely than ever to encounter online gambling, in its various forms.

However, while schools’ PHSE lessons tackle many of the issues facing young people, they do not yet fully cover the broadest range of harms that young people can encounter, especially in a digital environment.

It is clear that while the majority of problem gambling begins after the age of 18, there is a small minority who begin, illegally, before that age. Even if there wasn’t, waiting until the age of 18 to provide advice, support and education around safer ways to gamble is often times too little, too late and does not reflect the realities of a modern world, which has seen the rise of ever more sophisticated and attractive online gambling platforms.

Going forward, we should focus on prevention, so that we can eradicate, once and for all, the need for rehabilitation.

At Football Index, we are committed to safer gambling year-round, not just during Safer Gambling week, and strive to provide the necessary tools and information about the responsible use of our platform.

While betting is intended to be a sociable form of entertainment for adults to play within their budget, it is undeniable that sadly, there have been instances of gambling behaviours that have caused harm to individuals and to those around them.

That is why, for us, the focus is on preventing problematic behaviour before it ever arises, and equipping the adults of tomorrow with the tools to nip any issues in the bud.

Offering an informative, yet non-judgmental environment where young adults can freely discuss their thoughts and questions about gambling should, therefore, be key to any initiative that aims to prevent problem gambling.

Here, the industry, non-profit sector and Government can all work together to provide teachers, youth workers and educational figures in young people’s lives with an informative environment that is conducive to educating people about the risks of problem gambling, and to aid in preventing any issues, such as addiction or gambling beyond one’s means, through helpful, non-judgmental training sessions.

Going forward, we should focus on prevention, so that we can eradicate, once and for all, the need for rehabilitation.

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