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Talking to Kids About Gambling

It’s never too early to start the conversation about gambling and its risks.  By opening a dialogue you’ll help ensure that your kids are better prepared to make responsible choices now, and throughout their lives.

Here are some tips to help get the conversation going:

  • Understand how gambling works by visiting PlayOLG’s Myths & Facts section. This will help equip you to dispel common misperceptions that kids may have about gambling, as well as the role of the house advantage, probability, risk, and the independence of events.
  • Bring up the subject in a way that doesn’t seem forced, for example, after a media reference to gambling.
  • Listen carefully to understand what they do and don’t know so that you can be ready to explain and support their understanding.
  • Maintain their interest by posing hypothetical questions. For example, you might ask how they would feel if they bet and lost their favourite item like a musical instrument, bike or mp3 player.
  • Explain the difference between games where practice pays off (like video games and sports) versus gambling where the outcome is random and often leads to financial loss.

The best thing you can do is to know the facts and keep an open dialogue about gambling.  

Often, a child’s gambling activity is known by a parent or adult but the issue goes unaddressed. Underage gambling is serious, and help is available. If you have immediate concerns about kids and gambling call the Ontario Problem Gambling Help Line at 1-888-230-3505.