Youth gambling: promoting awareness and prevention within families

When thinking about risk-taking behaviours, many people forget to mention gambling. However, gambling can become an addiction and its negative impacts affect the health and wellbeing of young people. It is crucial that families, parents and carers are supported and equipped to talk confidently about gambling with their children – Fast Forward is stepping up to help.

The Gambling Commission recently published a survey on young people and gambling, based on 11-16 years olds in the UK.

The report revealed that, as of December 2017, among the 11-16 years old taking part in the study:

  • 12% had gambled in the last week, and it’s twice as prevalent among boys (15%) as among girls (7%)
  • 80% had seen gambling advertising on TV
  • 10% followed gambling companies on social media
  • 7% had used a parent’s account to gamble online
  • Among those living with family or household members who gamble, 28% had felt bad because of this behaviour at some point during the past 12 months
  • 39% stated that their parents had discussed the problems that gambling can lead to with them, while only 18% could recall a teacher having done so.

Research suggests that parents and carers significantly shape young people’s attitudes towards gambling:

  • “Young people who had been spoken to by a parent or guardian about the potential problems that can arise from gambling were significantly more likely to agree with the statement ‘gambling is dangerous’, with 75% of this sub-group responding ‘agree’ or ‘agree strongly’ compared to 55% who had not been spoken to by a parent/guardian[1]”.
  • “Parents’ (and other carers’) gambling, and their attitudes towards gambling, has an impact on their children’s behaviour (both positive and negative).”[2]
  • “Some parents will need support to understand and make use of technologies such as parental controls on digital devices and the importance of young people abiding by the minimum legal age requirements for gambling.”[3]
  • “Parents, if alert, can identify, protect or support youth who may be experiencing a gambling problem or at-risk for developing a problem.”[4]

Fast Forward recognises that parents and carers need accurate, relevant and appropriate information to address gambling-related issues confidently and effectively with their children. We are committed to provide support across Scotland, to increase knowledge and awareness by upskilling organisations supporting parents and carers.

Fast Forward’s work is supported by GambleAware and having recently secured funding, we are delighted to introduce the Gambling Education Hub. The mission of the Hub is to make it possible for every young person in Scotland to have access to gambling education and prevention opportunities.

Our services for parents’ and carers’ organisations are part of the wider work of the Hub. This programme adopts a training the trainers approach and will develop resources to provide tailored support to practitionersin the following five areas:

  • informal education
  • youth employability
  • formal education/secondary schools
  • further and higher education
  • parents and carers.

Fast Forward is looking forward to building partnerships with organisations supporting parents and carers and providing free CPD sessions, consultancy, tailored support and resources.

If you are interested in finding out more about our programme, please contact Chiara Marin, project manager at




[4] Youth gambling problems: a public health perspective, C. Messerlian, Health Promotion International, Vol 20, March 2005