Young People and Gambling

Over the past few years whilst working with young people I’ve noticed an increasing number are getting into gambling. There are many reasons for this. Gone are the old style bookies with darkened windows and smoke filled rooms offering radio commentary for a few horseracing and dog track meetings. The big chains of bookmakers have embraced technology. Most of them provide free drinks, they have comfortable seating areas, newspapers, and large HD TV screens. They open seven days a week from morning through to around 10pm. If racing is cancelled due to snow then not to worry, satellites can now beam in racing from across the globe.

Oh yes there’s also virtual racing. Animated races take place throughout the day. However the new money-spinner for the betting shops are the machines. They look like the slot machines you see in pubs; however these machines offer a variety of options from Roulette to traditional fruit machine games. You don’t need to put money in the slots. The staff in the betting shop will take your card details and put credit directly onto the machine.

I spoke to the manager of a betting shop who told me that the machines are now raking in more money than any other form of gambling in the shop.

Of course there are age restrictions you must be 18 years old or over to bet in shops. There are ways around this. Just go into a few shops in your area. I will be surprised if you don’t find at least one with underage gamblers.

Nevertheless if a young person can’t get into a betting shop. There are thousands of on-line betting sites.

I have written a Gambling case study for use with Writing Wrongs. It is available as a free download on the Resources page.

I would just like to add that this blog is not anti-gambling. It’s about identifying gambling as a problem for young people. If a young person gets into gambling as a habit then like substance misuse it can become an expensive habit which in turn can lead to crime.

Andy Winters