What is the role of the family in introducing children to gambling?

Joueur/Opérateur #English

Publié le lun 01/02/2021 - 10:55

Because gambling is not a game like any other, the French Gambling Authority (ANJ) asked Harris Interactive to interview parents of children aged 10-17 years about their practices and their views on them. While parents are very aware of the risks of this activity for minors, in practice their behaviour seems to be less in line. 41% of parents say they have already offered their children to play or participate in gambling, on average from the age of 11. Today, gambling is often offered to children to please them, especially for Christmas or their birthday. In this context, the ANJ and UNAF have just signed a partnership agreement in order to warn of the dangers of gambling for minors and to accompany parents towards good practices with regards to their children.


A very strong perception of the risks from the parents, but practices do exist

93% of parents consider gambling to be a dangerous activity for minors because they believe it can lead to risks of addiction. However, only 4 parents out of 10 (43%) have already discussed this subject with their child. But still, the imaginary of winnings associated with gambling occupy an important place within families, with 57% of parents who have already discussed with their child what they would do if they won the jackpot.

“We speak about what we would like to buy with the money if we win" said Annabelle, 42 years old, mother of a 17-year-old teenager.


Children asking to play

¼ children asked their parents to play a gambling game.

If they are in the minority, 8% of parents suspect their children of playing gambling behind their back (scratch games, sports-betting and/or lottery games).

Prescribing parents

41% of parents say they have already offered their child to play or participate in gambling (54% for parents who are gamblers themselves). On average, it was when their child was 11 years old that they first made this proposal.


To go into more detail about gambling games:

  • 38% of parents have already suggested their children to play scratch or lottery games;
  • 9% of parents have already offered their children to play or give their opinion on sports betting;
  • 4% of parents have already offered their children to play or give their opinion on horse racing betting.


Focus on scratch games

More than 1 in 3 French people (35%) say they have already suggested their child to play scratch games and this figure rises to 52% among parents who play scratch games themselves.  It is mainly on an occasional basis that they offer their children to play, but they sometimes offer scratch games to their children in general to please them (71%), as a Christmas (30%) or birthday present (23%). The habit of buying a game for their child is even stronger when the parents play it themselves. 70% of parents who buy a scratch game say that it happens to them at the same time to buy one for their child as well.

"When I go to the market, to buy the newspaper, I play the lottery, I take a game for him, it has become a habit" Jerome, 47 years old, 2 children 8 and 14 years old.


Focus on lottery games

92% of the parents who suggested their child to play a lottery game asked them to choose the numbers with them.


Risk behaviours from some parents

While the vast majority of parents are aware of the risks of gambling for minors, some minority behaviours are problematic regarding the ban on sales to minors that applies to gambling. Indeed, a few parents admit to crossing the red lines by asking their children to buy scratch games (7% of parents and 14% of parents who regularly play these games) or by opening an account for them on a sports-betting site (19% of parents who have offered their child to play sports-betting).


For Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, ANJ Chairwoman: "Studies show that the earlier you gamble, the greater is the risk of addiction. With the Harris survey, the ANJ would like to invite parents to reflect on their practices and to take responsibility so that gambling remains recreational and playful. And, if there is one thing they should remember, it is that gambling is not a child's game! ».


Unaf's reaction to the ANJ / Harris survey: "For its part, Unaf conducted a qualitative survey among parents to better understand their parental attitude towards gambling. The trivialisation of gambling, the multiplicity of the gambling offer (very playful for children), the attractiveness of advertising (especially for teenagers and young adults), the transmission of false beliefs and the lack of certainty about the dangers do not allow parents to assess the real risks. The Udaf network, which is very involved in supporting families, can see on the field the damage caused by gambling addiction in families: social isolation, over-indebtedness, break. This is why Unaf joins forces with the ANJ, both to provide advices and good practices to parents and to remind and alert them of the dangers of gambling for minors and to call for a strengthened supervision of the gambling offer and its advertising. "Marie-Andrée Blanc, Chaiwoman of UNAF.





1. UNDERSTAND: the springs of gambling, the reward, the addiction, the dangers

  • Remember that gambling is not harmless, even if it provides the child with a sense of fun. This activity should not be trivialized.
  • Beware of false beliefs about gambling. There is no such thing as "child martingale" or beginner's luck.
  • Gambling addiction is a reality that can seriously harm the family. For 1 excessive gambler, it is 10 people in his or her environment affected and 10 times more likely that his or her child will become an excessive gambler.[1]


2. DIALOGUE: explain, set an example

  • Talk to your child about the dangers of gambling and explain that gambling is not a way to earn a living.
  • Be aware of your emotions about gambling. Limit your practices in their presence.
  • Set aside gambling times with your child ... without money.


3. PROTECT: forbid, find help

  • Do not encourage your child to gamble. Remind him that selling gambling is forbidden to minors.
  • When confronted with the gambling offer and advertising messages, share a critical mind with your child.
  • If you see a potential of drift of your children and teenagers, go to www.joueurs-info-service.fr.


[1] The intergenerational transmission of problem gambling: The mediating role of parental psychopathology, Addictive Behaviors. Dowling N.A.et al. (2016)

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