But what is the best way to leave a positive impact? At a Parliamentary seminar on children gambling, a panel of executives from Sky Bet, Rank Group and the Gambling Commission all agreed education was the way forward.
The best method of dealing with problem gambling, they said, is to stop it before it becomes an issue, rather than hope to cure it when it has already taken hold. Put preventive measures ahead of reactionary.
The Young Gamblers Education Trust (YGam) runs workshops that instruct teachers, social workers and industry professional on how to talk to young people about gambling.
At 9am on a Tuesday morning, the Hippodrome casino floor is already buzzing with activity. Roulette wheels spin, chips are placed, but up in one of the venue’s meeting rooms YGam practitioners deliver an in-depth seminar on the courses the charity provides.
The morning session covers developments in the industry, particularly those that could attract and involve children. Advertising on football kits, loot boxes in video games, and social standing are all on the agenda.
In the afternoon, those at the workshop are taken through the course and learn how best to approach talking about gambling with children.
There are two-hour and 10-hour curriculums. The two-hour course covers five different topic areas and provides tools and activities to bring them to life. The 10-hour course covers the same topics but goes into further detail.
The topics cover areas integral to gambling motivations, the industry and some potential negative impacts. On page seven is money and debt. Challenge 4.3 in the section encourages students to think about their futures. It gives them the task of setting financial goals, both short-term and long-term, and referencing these against the potential costs of gambling. It’s a question of dreams, but in the most pragmatic sense.
Whatever the association with gambling, attendees are all better educated for coming to these workshops. Those with a limited understanding will leave with eyes opened to the presence of gambling in the modern world, while others will have furthered their knowledge.
The real beneficiaries however, will be the students and young people who are taught the programme. Just like learning about alcohol and tobacco in school does not fill students with a passion for booze and cigarettes, students of these courses will not be left feeling a need to gamble. They will instead be better prepared to make healthy decisions and enjoy gambling at a later stage in life, if they want to.
Click here to register for free and read the full feature on YGam’s workshops, when it is published in the July/August edition of Gambling Insider magazine.