Preventing minors from purchasing gambling products is a basic standard to which everyone in Canada’s gaming industry adheres. However, because the risks associated with underage gambling are so high, the industry takes their commitment to prevention further.
A portion of each province’s annual investment in social responsibility goes toward education and awareness related to underage gambling. The following are examples of initiatives that are reaching out to youth and their influencers directly, addressing the risks of everything from online poker to in-person wagering with friends:
- BetStopper – This world-first software was pilot tested in Nova Scotia. Installed on home computers, it blocks access to Internet gambling sites and content, helping parents to prevent their children from venturing onto websites where they don’t belong. The software is currently available for free to families in Nova Scotia and British Columbia.
- 82% and R U Up? – The latest is a series of stage performances created by the Responsible Gambling Council, these dramas have been performed at numerous high schools across Ontario and Atlantic Canada, respectively. Depicting characters students can relate to and using language and cultural references that are commonplace among teens, these performances illustrate the risks of gambling and the impacts gambling can have on a young person’s life if it gets out of control.
- Parents as Partners – This is a national initiative to raise awareness that lottery tickets are inappropriate gifts for minors. Each year during the month of December, provincial media releases are issued to bring the risks of underage gambling to the forefront. Christmas morning stockings are a common tradition that many Canadian families enjoy. Although their size and price point make lottery tickets seem like a fun and entertaining gift to include in a stocking, it’s important to remind parents that this is an adult-appropriate gift only.
- The International Centre for Youth Gambling and High Risk Behaviours – A McGill University Research Centre, this facility and the team behind it are committed to the advancement of knowledge in the area of youth gambling and risk-taking behaviours. They lead both basic and applied research students, and are engaged in training, treatment, prevention, information dissemination, policy development in a multitude of ways. Their findings, recommended best practices and insights inform the gaming industry throughout North America.
- KnowDice – Designed for grade six students and their teachers, this British Columbia program addresses the risks of gambling in a comprehensive and age-appropriate manner. Addressing risks, myths, available resources, and frequently asked questions while using quizzes, videos, games and animation, this engaging program is an example of how gambling education can be made a priority for even pre-teens.