Are you part of a sports club and interested in joining Here For The Game?

Start the conversation with the kids in your life.

We all know it's important to have “the talk” with kids — this could be about relationships, peer pressure, alcohol or drugs.  However, there is one talk that you may not have had…and that’s about the risks of sports betting and more broadly about gambling generally.

It’s the new “talk”. And it’s an important one.

How to have “the talk” with kids about the risks of sports betting?

If you need help to get started, here’s some tips:

Before you have "the talk"…

  • Take a moment to reflect on your own thoughts, feelings and beliefs when it comes to sports betting and gambling. This may help you express yourself clearly and compassionately.
  • Consider your own behaviour. How might your gambling habits be influencing or interpreted by the children in your life?

This can help you prepare for tricky questions about your own betting or help you explain the ways you keep yourself safe when gambling.

  • Do you know what gambling is? Do you know what sports betting is? Can you explain it to me? How do you feel about it?
    • The child’s answer to these questions will help you get an idea of their understanding and will guide the rest of your conversation.
  • Have you noticed sports betting ads on TV, at the sports stadium or online?
  • What do you think about sports betting? Does it seem risky? Why or why not?
  • Do you think betting makes sport more fun and exciting? Do you think it's an important part of watching the game?
  • Have your friends ever placed a bet on sports or something else? What do you think about that?

  • There’s no such things as a sure bet. While experience and knowledge about a sport can increase over time, luck and other factors will always influence the outcome.
  • Gambling works on the rules of probability — the odds of winning don’t change no matter what you do or what you know.
  • Advertisers often use incentives and promises of 'cashbacks' and 'bonuses' to make betting seem less risky. But the truth is it's still dangerous and these incentives do not increase your chance of winning.
  • Betting companies need to make a profit to stay in business. The whole system is designed for the betting company to win more often than you do.

Tell stories

  • Opening up about your experiences can help get a point across.
  • Giving real examples can help kids relate to what you're saying.

Listen carefully

  • Kids will talk more if you actively listen to them.

Time it right

  • Choose a time when everyone is in a good mood and make it casual.
  • Driving to sport or watching a game are great relevant times to have a chat about it.

Keep it light and use humour

  • Add some laughter and silliness into the conversation — it keeps things interesting and means kids won't switch off.

Make the conversation relevant to them and their life

  • Talk about the sports your kid is interested in.

Do it in small doses

  • Lots of short conversations are better than long lectures.
  • Kids won’t think you are harping on and they can absorb a bit at a time. That helps things stick.

Practice what your preach

  • Young people are influenced by you — particularly when it comes to gambling.
  • Be conscious of your own behaviour.
  • Always explain the risks involved in any gambling you yourself do and the steps you take to keep yourself safe.
    • Like setting time and dollar limits, taking time out from betting to do other things you enjoy, avoid betting when you are depressed or upset, and not chasing your losses.

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Looking for more resources?

Love The Game (Not the Odds) has been working with Victorian sporting clubs for years and has developed a range of resources for parents and guardians, including this video about talking to kids (1:18 min):

Gamble Aware NSW has created some great resources to help get the conversation started, including clips about talking to teenagers about gambling (1:2 min):