Gambling can be fun and a lot of young people see it as such. But there is a lot more to gambling than just fun and the possibility of wining big money.
Gambling is an activity that attracts the attention of a lot of Australians in general. Statistics available through Wikipedia indicate that more than 80% of adults Australians engage in gambling of some kind and this is the highest rate in the world. With a such a high interest in gambling, it becomes easy to understand why so many Australians are reported to be experiencing significant problems with gambling. This creates a significant public health issue and a whole host of related social issues, which are estimated to cost close to $5 billion each year to the tax payer.
Even though the majority of problem gamblers in Australia are adults, there is an increase of the number of young people being harmed by gambling in some ways. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that multicultural youths are increasingly being affected by gambling, especially young boys. Many of these are often interested in sports and are falling victims of the aggressive advertising of sports betting that is projected through Australian media in general and television in particular.
Due to some cultural and religious considerations, many people in multicultural communities are not talking about the harm that they are experiencing because of gambling. But the problems are real and so are the consequences. The affected individuals are not always seeking for help and prefer to hide the issues under the carpet.
A lot of young people are spending a large portion of their hard-earned money on gambling, mostly trough online gambling on their mobiles. They are motivated by the possibility of winning big with very little investment. When they start experiencing harm, they don’t speak to their parents or any adults in their environment and they keep quite for fear of retribution. It is also becoming apparent that many parents in these communities are not necessarily equipped to detect and address gambling issues faced by their teenagers or the young adults in their families.
Parents, community leaders, youth advocates and faith leaders within ethnic groups need to pay more attention to the rise of gambling issues within their communities and take steps to equip themselves to be able to provide help where it is needed.
Anyone experiencing gambling harm can contact Gamblers’ Helpline on 18008580858