50,000 children between the ages of 11 and 16 have a gambling problem, and that’s just in the UK. Across the globe, young supporters are getting increasing access to gambling sites that allow them to bet on their favorite sports teams. This puts them at risk of developing addictive behaviors that could cause them real pain. In this article, we look at what steps can be taken to help keep young supporters safe.
Recommended reading: SPORTS BETTING AND HORSE RACE BETTING: HOW DO THEY DIFFER?
Clearly define what sports betting & gambling activity is
One of the most important parts of making sports betting safe for young supporters is to be very clear about what constitutes gambling activity – without this clarity, how can we be sure that any steps we take are going in the right direction?
Newsround is a youth magazine operated by UK publication the BBC that’s geared towards making important topics digestible for young people. In 2018, Newsround published an article that responds to research by the Gambling Commission, which stated thousands of youths have a problem with gambling. Newsround argued that “not everybody agrees on what exactly counts as a gambling activity for children.” This is a real problem.
The solution is that we need to be clear that any activity where people stake “something of value in the hope of winning something else” is gambling. This means that even if young supporters wager game currency on the outcome of sporting activity, we must treat this as gambling. Taking this approach will allow us to properly educate youths about gambling.
Educate children about the serious side of sports betting
Of course, there’s a lot of fun to be had in sports betting – if you’re watching a sports game with friends and you all place different bets, there’s a sense of healthy competition in seeing which one of you wins. What’s important to remember is that while wagers among friends are fun, there is a serious side to sports betting – educating young supporters about this will help keep them safe.
Tony O’Reilly is a former Post Office manager from the Republic of Ireland. Tony’s a big sports fan and enjoyed to place a bet, beginning with one on the outcome of a soccer match in 1998 – all normal stuff. But Tony’s sports betting wasn’t normal. He placed bet after bet after bet and he began funding it by stealing from his work, taking €1.75m and losing all of it on sports bets. Eventually, Tony was caught and spent 18 months in prison.
Tony’s tale shows the serious side of sports betting, but that’s not where his story ends. In 2018 he published his biography, Tony 10: The Astonishing Story of the Postman who Gambled €10,000,000 … and Lost it All. Tony 10… explains what he lost in great detail and people have asked that it be taught in schools, as a lesson to demonstrate just how serious sports betting is. This would be a great step and more initiatives like it should be taken, so that young supporters understand that gambling isn’t all fun.
More responsible sports betting tools & campaigns
We’re some way off the world’s education systems making sports betting a part of their syllabuses. However, a development in attitudes among gambling companies is seeing them release more adverts that ask people to bet responsibly. This is crucial in helping to make sports betting safer for young supporters.
Betway is one casino that really takes the issue of responsible betting seriously:
Its message is simple, direct, and easy for young viewers to understand – there comes a point when sports betting stops being fun and this is the time when you need to give it a rest.
Bet365 takes a different approach. This online casino built a serious of tools to help people stay in control of their betting, allowing people to set notifications and gambling blackouts to make sure they stay safe. Being responsible is just one of the reasons Bet365 is a great sports betting casino, but it’s the most important when we’re talking about keeping young supporters safe. If you want to make sure casinos and betting companies are doing the most they can to help young sports fans, only show your support to the ones that take efforts to keep gambling responsible.
Sports betting is a lot of fun, so long as it’s done in the right way and people are kept safe. There’s one theme that runs through this article: to protect young supporters you need to improve how you educate them, without doing this the only way they will find out about the serious side of gambling is by experiencing it themselves – and that’s not very safe.