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.

New Program Launched to Reduce Underage Gambling

With recent studies showing that some individuals begin gambling as young as ten-years-old, it is becoming increasingly important for the local government to fight underage gambling. A new program from New Zealand’s Problem Gambling Foundation takes to schools to help students understand the dangers of gambling from a young age.

This is an ideal time for a program of this kind to be launched in New Zealand. With the Harm Reduction Bill receiving a great deal of support, it is also important for local organizations to deal with problem gambling in other ways.

The program has been launched at Tawa College. As the program gains steam, it will expand to other schools across the country. It is important for the program to take place in schools, as it makes it mandatory for youth to take part, exposing them to a dialogue about underage gambling.

Navid Foroutan of the Problem Gambling Foundation says that the program will take an interactive approach. It is aimed at understanding how students perceive gambling, so that the program can provide an effective approach to communicating the dangers of underage gambling.

Smartphones Allow for Underage Exposure to Gambling

In New Zealand, a major concern is the issue of underage gambling. Many recent reports have shown that children across the country are getting their starts in the gambling industry from a very early age, and politicians are discouraging parents from purchasing lottery tickets for their children and allowing them to take part in home games.

However, there is one situation that cannot be controlled by parents: mobile gambling. With the advent of smartphones, more children than ever have access to mobile gambling apps – and parents cannot stop them from taking part in poker and casino games on their mobile phones.

In the mobile gaming world, children are exposed to gambling activities. Three of the top 5 apps in the iTunes App Market are gambling-related, and there is nothing stopping children from downloading them.

Although they are free-play games, they expose children to gambling from a very early age. The major concern with this is that early exposure can foster the development of unhealthy gambling habits. It also portrays gambling in an unrealistic way, as allowing players to use play money distances them from the real world impacts of playing casino games.

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.