Online gambling 

Many children and teenagers enjoy playing games on the internet but they might also come across gambling websites while they’re online. They might click on a banner advertisement or a pop-up by accident or look for a gambling site out of curiosity.

Gambling websites include poker, casinos, sports betting and bingo. These kind of sites generally require a credit card but, in some cases, debit cards, which are available to children as young as 11, are accepted.

What do I need to know about online gambling? 

Under 18s might not realise that it’s illegal for them to gamble or that they could lose large sums of money.

Recognising the potential risks, the UK gambling industry has taken action to combat underage gambling. Under the 2005 Gambling Act, gambling websites in the UK must employ age and ID verification procedures so that they can block access by underage users at the point of registration.

Some people argue that it is possible to circumvent these age and ID checks, however, and are concerned that non-UK gambling websites might not have the same verification processes in place.

It’s therefore important that you talk to your kids about the potential dangers of online gambling.

What action can I take? 

Set up Parental Controls on your family’s computer to help prevent them from accessing gambling websites – but remember, they might not be 100% effective and they aren’t a substitute for parental supervision

Explain the difference between gaming and gambling and remind your son or daughter that it’s illegal for under 18s to gamble in the UK

Encourage them to be honest about their age whenever they register for any website – minimum age limits are in place to help protect young people when they’re online

Online gambling often requires a credit card so keep yours safe – if your child asks you to pay for something on the internet, do it yourself, don’t just lend them your card

Don’t forget that if your child uses your credit card to gamble online, they’re not just breaking the law – they could be running up large debts and affecting your (and their) future credit rating

Explain to them that online gambling can be addictive as it can be done for hours on end

Talk to your child’s friends’ parents to see if you are all taking the same precautions about online gambling

Where can I go for more information and support?