Studies have shown that the youth of Australia are being exposed to gambling earlier and earlier. The legal age to be able to gamble within Australia is 18 years. However, recent studies show that approximately two-thirds (62%) of Australian’s, by their thirteenth birthday, have been reported to been involved in a form of gambling. Why does the youth of Australia want to gamble? Is gambling at this age normal?
Gambling has been identified by the youth of Australia as a normal experience and activity. Within a family situation, gambling is not considered forbidden for children to indulge in, in fact it is the opposite, families are very open and happy for children to be a part of gambling. The level and degree of involvement for each family is diverse. Also, the forms of gambling engaged in by young people are different dependent upon where they live, city or country, and their age and gender.
The recent survey of Victorian gambling participation showed that 20% of individuals aged 18 to 24 years began gambling while underage and, then once were of age, preferred casino table gambling. Statics show that 81% of male gamblers and 19% of females began gambling while underage.
There is, however, very little evidence of underage gambling patterns due to the sensitivity. Nevertheless, a study of adolescent gambling in the ACT reported the most popular forms of gambling for youth to be: bingo, scratchies (41%), private card games (40%), racing (32%) and betting on sports (26%). These statics show that the youth of Australia are involved in gambling and that they overall enjoy the experience, which could be associated to the normality of gambling within the family environment. The youth of Australia are conditioned from a young age that gambling is a fun and enjoyable past time which can be indulged in; however, the effects associated with gambling are not well-established and explained to the child before undertaking in gambling. Maybe, there is a correlation between underage gambling and gambling addictions within adults?