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Time for ‘the talk’ with your kids… the gambling talk

Parents are encouraged to have a conversation with their teenage children about the risks and potential harms of gambling under the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s latest marketing campaign, The Talk, now running on TV, radio and online.

Western Bulldogs captain Easton Wood, who has been outspoken in raising his concerns about children’s exposure to sports betting, has lent his support to the campaign.

‘We need to protect kids from advertising that makes it seem like sport and gambling go together,’ he said. ‘That’s why I would encourage parents to talk with their kids about the risks of gambling, and to remind them that the reason to go to AFL matches is to support their favourite team or player compete in a game we all love.’

Foundation CEO Louise Glanville concurred, highlighting that this was new territory for parents to navigate.

‘Children born in this millennium are exposed to an unprecedented level of gambling promotion through traditional and new media,’ Ms Glanville said, ‘and while many parents are troubled about the way in which betting has become a part of our sporting culture, they may not be aware of how this exposure is likely to affect their children’s current or future gambling activities or behaviours.

‘Of significant concern is Deakin University research that shows 75 per cent of kids who watch sport think that betting on it is normal. This is a notion we must challenge if we are to equip young people to make informed choices about gambling as they move into adulthood.’

Ms Glanville said that this year marked the first time all 10 Victorian AFL clubs had signed the Foundation’s Sporting Club Charter and pledged a commitment to reduce exposure of their fans and members to sports betting for the entire AFL season.

‘To have the importance of these messages reinforced by elite sportspeople who are role models to so many young – and older – Victorians demonstrates an appetite at the highest levels to separate sports from betting and to enjoy sports without worrying about the odds.

The Talk is about raising awareness in the community of how the experience of sport is changing with gambling exposure and providing parents and others access to information to help them talk to kids about gambling risks and how to avoid gambling harm,’ she said.

It builds on a 2017 Foundation campaign featuring school kids talking in their own words about sports, demonstrating their perception that sports and betting are integrated activities. Both campaigns are in response to research findings that people who begin gambling at a young age are at greater risk of developing gambling problems as an adult.

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