With the rise of online gambling, young individuals have increasingly easy and convenient access to gaming and betting products of all kinds. A national poll on children’s health delved deeper into the issue of parents’ awareness of online gambling among teens. It has been conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, LLC (Ipsos) for the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Administered in August 2023, the report is based on responses from a national sample of 923 parents with at least one child aged between 14 and 18.
According to the report’s findings, which can be found online at https://mottpoll.org/sites/default/files/documents/012224_OnlineBetting.pdf, more than 50% of the respondents were unaware of their state’s legal age for online betting. While 67% think that the legal age for online gambling should be 21 years, 22% believe it should be between 18 and 20 and 11% think that the activity should not be legal at all.
About 31% of parents confirmed that they or some other adult in their household have gambled at an online or land-based venue. As for their exposure to online gaming and betting ads, 63% said they have heard or seen such over the last year. Teens may be particularly susceptible to these ads, as the report further noted, as they usually feature sports personalities and celebrities they are fond of.
Gambling ads may present a favorable opportunity for starting a discussion concerning the risks associated with online gambling. An important highlight reveals that approximately 25% of parents have discussed the topic of online gaming and betting with their teens. More specifically, the conversations included gambling-related risks, ads, and ways to win, among others.
Furthermore, 16% of respondents shared they would probably not know if their child was betting via their mobile device. About 30% of parents said they might be aware and 55% confirmed they would definitely know. When asked if online or in-person gambling was more addictive, nearly half of all parents (45%) were unsure. The report indicates the key differences between in-person and online betting, further highlighting the easy accessibility of the latter. Most respondents (63%) were hesitant as to whether it is too easy to register an online betting account.
Debt and Addiction are Among the Most Common Gambling Implications Parents of Teens Are Concerned about
The report revealed the most common gambling-related implications parents of teens between 14 and 18 are concerned about. About 83% of respondents were worried about the risk of indebtedness. Gambling addiction comes next, with 77% of parents sharing concerns about it. Some 51% feel apprehensive about ruined credit scores, while 27% are afraid of gambling leading to substance abuse.
When asked about the possible strategies and tools that could be utilized to minimize the exposure of young individuals to gambling, 43% responded that using betting restrictions after a loss of a particular amount of money would be effective. Different types of parental control software would be practical, according to 38% of respondents. Some 33% believe that robust verification procedures must be in place when individuals set up online betting and gaming accounts. Many websites do not require proof of age, which practically allows anyone to register an account, as noted by the report.
Time limits would also minimize the risk of remote gambling, according to 33% of parents. Resorting to professional treatment services for youth struggling with gambling addiction would be effective according to 25% of respondents.
In conclusion, the report highlights the importance for parents of being aware of the state’s regulations for online betting, as well as the hotlines for professional help and treatment of gambling addictions.