As a parent, your opinions and attitudes can influence your son’s or daughter’s decision making. When you talk with your son or daughter about drugs or alcohol, include gambling in the conversation as another potentially risky activity.
If you’ve already had the drug and alcohol conversation with your son or daughter, and have not addressed gambling as a potentially risky activity, look for natural opportunities to bring up gambling. For example, the next time you see a news report or article about a lottery ticket winner or a big winner at a casino, take the opportunity to talk to your son or daughter about the reality of chance and gambling behaviors on his or her campus.
Here are some questions you can ask to learn more about your son’s or daughter’s gambling behavior.
- Do you ever see or hear of students gambling at school?
- Do your friends gamble?
- What types of gambling do your friends like?
- Have you ever gambled? What was that like?
- Have you gambled online? What is that like?
- Do you know your schools policies on gambling?
Remember to be patient. Your son or daughter may not engage in a lengthy discussion right away. Listen to what your son or daughter has to say before offering your own opinions.
Talking with Children about Gambling
The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) created “Talking with Children about Gambling,” a research-based guide designed to help parents, as well as others who work with youth, deter children from gambling and recognize possible warning signs of problem gambling and other risky behaviors. This brochure was developed to help parents to talk to their adolescent children, so you may need to adjust the language when speaking with your college-aged son or daughter.
Set a Good Example
Research shows that parents have the power to make a difference in how their son or daughter responds to risky activities. When asked, most children say their mother or father is the person they respect the most.
Many teenagers who gamble excessively have told researchers their first experience with gambling occurred with family members. In fact, research shows a connection between adolescent problem gambling and a family history of gambling problems.
Think about how your attitude toward gambling and your own gambling behavior might influence your children. Be careful not to send mixed messages, and lead by example. For instance, giving lottery tickets as gifts to young people is a common practice. A Yale University study, however, found that high school students who received lottery tickets as gifts were associated with risky/problematic gambling.
Encourage Responsible Gambling
If your son or daughter is of legal age and chooses to gamble, it is important they make responsible decisions. Here are some resources you can share with them that will provide more information about responsible gambling and help them to understand the odds of different casino games.
Keeping it Fun: A Guide to Responsible Gaming
Casino gambling is one of America’s favorite forms of entertainment, and for a vast majority of Americans it is just that – entertainment. This brochure outlines the characteristics of responsible gambling and tips for setting personal guidelines when visiting a casino.
The House Advantage: A Guide to Understanding the Odds
This publication explains the house advantage, providing typical ranges for specific games, along with other factors that should be taken into account when betting on casino games, such as the amount wagered, the length of time played, and, to a degree, a player’s skill level. It also debunks common myths about gambling and provides an explanation of regulatory procedures in place to ensure all games in a casino are fair.
Taking the Mystery Out of the Machine: A Guide to Understanding Slot Machines
While a significant majority of gamblers say slot machines are their favorite form of casino entertainment, most people know very little about how slots are developed or how they work. The brochure provides digestible information about how slots are operated, developed and regulated, and uses common language to debunk many players’ most widely held myths about slot machines.