by Joss Wood, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer
Gamcare, a charity which helps those who suffer with gambling addiction, estimates that 100,000 British children under the age of 18 have a problem with gambling:
"For the vast majority, gambling is a pleasurable leisure pursuit. But we also know that at any one time some 60,000 12-15 year olds may already be problem gamblers – a prevalence rate of 2%, more than twice that for adults… The answer to this must lie in better education – for teenagers, parents and teachers.”
Due to these estimates, they have created a proposal to introduce responsible gambling to the school curriculum in a Response to the Department for Education’s Review of Personal, Social, Health and Economics (PSHE) Education.
Gamcare conducted a two-part research project in 2010. The first part focused on those who work with young people- youth workers, teachers, providers of other addiction treatment services, and parents. The second part focused on young people under the age of 18 across three regions. They concluded that both groups were unable to identify the signs and symptoms of problem gambling or how to get help for them.
In 2008 the UK Gambling Commission Report, “Children and Young People's Gambling”, found that up to one third of young criminal offenders have been estimated to have a gambling problem, and many crimes go unreported as they are frequently committed against family members.
Gamcare believes that many of these problems can be headed off if schools can teach children about gambling and the potential for addiction. Learning about odds and probabilities will also teach children to understand “when the odds are stacked against them”.
The British Labour Party has welcomed the idea:
“With the rise of online gambling, there is clearly a need for children and young people to be given good advice. It is right that, just like drug and alcohol addiction, teenagers and children are given information to prepare them for the adult world. The Government should listen to concerns.”
Perhaps the biggest problem with introducing such subjects to the curriculum is overcoming the moral dimension. It is a lot easier to teach that gambling is bad than to teach children how to gamble responsibly.
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