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Keeping young people ahead of the game

Shane Lucas

Foundation CEO Shane Lucas

May is ‘Love the Game, not the odds’ month across Victoria.

I was delighted to launch the celebration on 30 April in Point Cook alongside emerging Hawthorn star Mitch Lewis; Melbourne Rebels’ players Ray Nu'u and Divad Palu; Melbourne United’s Shea Ili; North Melbourne AFLW players Ash Riddell and Jasmine Garner; and junior footballers, officials and families from the Point Cook Bulldogs.

Our elite athlete ambassadors engaged with the kids and showed their support for Love the Game, highlighting the huge role community clubs and parents can play in showing kids that sport and betting don’t have to go together.

… start a conversation with children about the risks of sports betting.

This May, we invite everyone to start a conversation with children about the risks of sports betting. Victorians are also encouraged to take part in the Love the Game Challenge alongside their kids. This might involve turning off your phone for an entire match; finding ways to talk about sport without referring to the odds; making a pact with your mates to not bet on, or during, a game; and avoiding gambling in front of kids.

With saturation levels of gambling advertising, technology always on hand, and a blurring of the line between gaming and gambling, young people are increasingly at risk of harm from gambling – including those under 18, which is the age at which Australians are legally permitted to gamble.

Education is the key

We know that education is critical to push back against the association between gambling and sport.

The Foundation has recently updated our Be Ahead of the Game schools program, which takes a comprehensive approach to helping young people better understand the risks of gambling.

Research shows that the values and attitudes of young people towards gambling are primarily shaped by their peer group and family.

The program therefore aims to educate the educators – teachers, parents and carers of people aged 12 to 17 – by providing resources to enable the whole school community to better understand the risks confronting young people. Participants learn how to identify signs of gambling harm and excessive gaming in young people, and where to find help if you are concerned about your own gambling or that of someone close to you.

The program has evolved to keep up with the rapidly changing gambling environment …

Interactive workshops for students in years seven to 12 have been developed in collaboration with Gambler’s Help community engagement staff who deliver the program in schools and youth organisations.

The program has evolved to keep up with the rapidly changing gambling environment and technological advances. The resources have also been shaped by the latest research into young people’s attitudes towards gambling and the ways they take part in it, and cover three subject areas.

Know the score helps young people understand the real costs of gambling and how to seek support for themselves or others.

When gaming meets gambling explores gambling-like tactics and features used by game designers to entice young people to play longer and spend more.

Your money matters is a financial literacy workshop about earning, saving and budgeting, plus lessons about the effects gambling can have on finances.

The program has become increasingly popular in recent years alongside the rise in community concern over saturation levels of gambling advertising, with more than 320 workshops and information sessions conducted in 2012–22.

We’re incredibly proud of this program and the capacity it has to generate discussions and prompt critical thinking.

To find out how your school community can get involved in the Be Ahead of the Game program, visit

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