Gambling is something that’s meant to be confined to adulthood. Kids aren’t allowed to gamble, in fact, most gambling related things can only be done once you turn 18. The reason for this is pretty obvious – gambling involves an element of risk and the use of money. You can’t trust a kid to gamble, as they might end up blowing away all their parent’s money.
However, it’s interesting to take a look at modern life and see how kids are exposed to gambling nowadays. Parents would love to believe that they’re teaching children not to gamble, or to only gamble when you’re 18 and do it responsibly. But, is that really the case? The more you look at modern life, the more it seems as though we’re teaching our kids to gamble. Not on purpose, but just as an accident thanks to certain things we encourage or get them to do.
At this point, you’re probably thinking this sounds a bit daft. So, allow me to illustrate my point by talking about a few of the ways we’re accidentally teaching our kids to gamble:
A school raffle is usually a lovely thing put on by your child’s school where people can spend a bit of cash in the hope of winning a big prize. Normally, the money you spend goes towards a charity or is used to help fund other things in the school. Raffles are for a good cause, but, they’re essentially a form of gambling. You give your kids money, and they spend it and hope to get a prize back from it. Granted, it’s hard for a child to get addicted to raffles. But, from a young age, you’re teaching them about gambling. It’s probably the first taste they get of that thrill of uncertainty and the hope of winning big.
Most people seem to forget that bingo is a form of gambling. You’re spending money, and aren’t guaranteed to get anything back from it. You hope that you’ll win big and get a nice cash prize, but it’s always a gamble. The thing is, kids are often taught how to play bingo when they’re young. Teachers and parents will play bingo style games to help teach certain topics or subjects. I remember being in school and playing bingo in French to help us learn certain words. By doing this, you’re showing kids how fun the game of bingo can be. Again, like with raffles, you give them a taste of the thrill that comes with gambling. They’re more likely to search for bingo games online after playing an educational version in school.
Kids these days are often spoilt with loads of different games. At the top of every child’s Christmas list was probably a games console of sorts. Or, if they already have one, I’m sure they asked for some new games. Naturally, we want to keep our kids happy and will go out and buy them video games to enjoy. Of course, by paying attention to the age ratings on games, we can ensure they never play anything that’s violent or bad. However, a lot of modern video games are rated 3+ but have elements of gambling in them. The best example is the FIFA series, which includes a game mode called Fifa Ultimate Team. In this game mode, players can spend coins or FIFA Points on packs that will contain real-life football players for them to add to their ‘Ultimate Team’. Having played this game myself, I can testify that this is so close to regular gambling it’s unreal. The coins you spend on packs are a digital currency that you earn from playing games. To earn enough coins to buy a pack you have to probably play and win around ten or so games, give or take. Then, after finally earning these coins, you buy a pack and will often get nothing of value in it. You’re gambling your virtual currency in the hope of getting a very good player. To make things worse, FIFA points can be purchased using real money to open packs. So, many kids are literally throwing away their birthday and Christmas money by mindlessly gambling on FIFA packs. It’s rare that a parent will do anything about this as they don’t know what’s going on. This type of thing is seen in many other video games too. By purchasing these games for our kids, we’re essentially exposing them to gambling.
Of course, we’re not intentionally teaching our kids how to gamble and to start spending their money on an accumulator every week. But, it’s just interesting to see how often children will be exposed to forms of gambling from a young age.