Children are bound to suffer in families of problem gamblers, according to new research conducted by GamCare, a charity. The organization has found out that children whose parents are problem gamblers or at-risk gamblers are more likely to receive scratchcards as gifts or to be bought scratchcards directly, fostering an unhealthy attitude towards gambling from an early age.
Scratchcards a Poor Gift for the Future Make
Similar studies in places such as Australia have found a causal link between early exposure to gambling products and gambling-related problems in adulthood. This, GamCare, could point to a pathway to addiction.
The research went even deeper by the numbers. It found out that 38% of all problem gamblers in Great Britain had bought their children scratchcards. Only 22% of those with a low-to-medium gambling problem did the same. As non-problem gamblers, only 8% bought their children a scratch card, and another 5% of non-gambling parents did the same for their children.
Regardless of the rates, argues GamCare, buying scratchcards to children is hardly ever a good idea. It could be an early entry point into gambling, argues GamCare senior program manager Alea Roseblade. While scratchcards account for only 4% of calls to gambling helplines, they could easily introduce people to other forms of gambling as well. Roseblade commented on the findings and said:
We regularly hear how exposure at a young age can lead to other forms of gambling in their lives. This is particularly the case if young people experience a big win from an early age, where they might want to chase the feeling of that win again through other forms.GamCare senior program manager Alea Roseblade
Normalizing Scratchcards in Childhood
This is an important insight into consumer behavior, argues Roseblade, as it indicates that exposure to harmful gambling may start at a much earlier age, and it highlights weak spots in how parents address problem gambling when applied to their children. Normalizing any form of gambling is bad and could lead to gambling behavior later in life, Roseblade continued.
The GamCare’s data surveyed 4,000 UK adults, 500 of whom were 14-15-year-olds. The survey found out that 12% of those children’s parents bought them scratchcards. Another 20% of the interviewed parents said that they would consider buying their children scratch cards.