If you’ve got children living under your roof, you know better than anyone how important it is to keep them safe. And preventing underage gambling is something you should know how to do.
Whether or not you gamble yourself, if your child has internet access, there’s a chance they can gamble online. But we’re going to run you through some simple things you can do to make sure they don’t gamble.
What age can you gamble online?
We all know underage gambling should be prevented. But the confusing thing is that the age at which people can legally gamble varies depending on your jurisdiction and, in some cases, the types of gambling. Here are some of the current age limits in place:
- 18 years of age for most countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, Mexico, Germany, France and South Africa
- 21 years of age in countries such as India, Greece, Estonia, Belgium and Namibia
- 20 years of age in Japan and Nigeria
- Then in some countries, the age depends on your federal jurisdiction. For example, the ages range from 18 to 21 depending on where you are in the United States.
If you’re unsure what the rules are in your location, please look them up online.
How do you talk to your child about gambling and underage gambling?
The first thing you can do is lead by example. If you gamble, online or offline, don’t do it around your child. If gambling is seen as a normal, everyday activity, your child is more likely to want to do it too.
As they’ll more than likely come across gambling in the outside world, you can talk to them about it first. As with sex or alcohol, it’s important to have frank and open conversations.
Make sure they understand that sport is enjoyable in its own rite. You don’t have to gamble to get more enjoyment out of sport. Tell them that gambling companies are designed to make money from their customers. The chances of winning are limited and there’s no way to influence the outcome.
And it’s important to gently discuss the risks associated with gambling, including losing money and problem gambling.
How do online sites prevent minors from gambling?
When setting up online accounts, gambling sites will carry out age verification checks to prevent against underage gambling. If they are unsure of the results of these checks, they’ll insist on documentary proof too.
So that should stop many children from setting up an account. However, if your child lives with someone who has an online gambling account, it’s important that they do not access that account. You can protect it by using a password or code they don’t know.
If an underage person uses any gambling account, the winnings are forfeited and the account is closed. And if you suspect they are using someone else’s account, you can report it straight away to that gambling site.
How to make devices safe from online gambling
The first thing you must do is set up parental controls on your phones, tablets, TV and any other devices your child owns or has access to.
How to do this varies on different devices, but usually you’ll find an option in the Settings menu to enable parental controls. Then you set up a pin your child doesn’t know and decide what content you want to filter and how you want to restrict access.
There is also external software you can use to filter content from your child. This includes Net Nanny and Cybersitter. And there are several options for blocking software that specifically target gambling websites. They include Gamblock and Betfilter.
Problem gambling help
Are you worried that you or someone you know has a gambling problem or is at risk of developing one? This is serious and you need to seek help immediately. Especially if that person is underage.
If you’re in the United Kingdom, the Be Gamble Aware website has a lot of resources. You can also phone them directly at 0808 8020 133. And if you’re outside of the United Kingdom, there are still plenty of places you can get help. Take a look at this list of international gambling help organisations in countries around the world.