Does Facebook Encourage Underage Gambling?

Facebook is the premiere provider of social games. The platform offers players around the world a vast collection of fun titles that can be shared with friends; however, there are concerns that these games could encourage underage gambling.

According to NewsTalk ZB, many cases of underage gambling begin on the internet. Although sites like Facebook do not require players to spend any money in order to play, many of the titles are based on casino games (ie. Zynga Poker, Double Down Casino). Children have access to these play-money casino games, which exposes them to gambling.

Additionally, play-money games can be more harmful than actual casino games. Since players do not lose real cash, inexperienced gamblers may develop unrealistic perceptions about gambling.

“They often get onto Facebook,” says Dr. Sean Sullivan. “There’s a huge amount of gambling available on there and it’s called gaming”.

Many recent studies in New Zealand have shown that simply exposing children to gambling can lead to their development of gambling problems later on in life. As such, social games inadvertently contribute to the problem.

Study Shows Pacific Children Gamble

Underage gambling is becoming a huge problem across New Zealand, with more and more children getting involved in the activity. A recent report highlights this problem, showing that a large number of New Zealand children with Pacific background begin gambling from a very young age.

According to the report, which was carried out by AUT University, 60% of young children begin playing gambling games at home with their families. Of that percentage, nearly 30% gamble for money, starting many children off on a dangerous path.

Previous studies have shown that the development of unhealthy gambling habits starts at home. Just like any other learned behaviour, children are most likely to mimic their parents’ actions. If their parents are gamblers, it is likely that they will go down a similar path – especially if they are encouraged to take part while they are young.

This study highlights the importance of leaving children unexposed to gambling behaviour until they are the legal age to gamble. This includes keeping them away from gambling card games and buying them lottery tickets as gifts. Preventing problem gambling begins at home, and many parents should take this seriously.