In the weeks ahead we will feature essays written by some of our students. A big thank you to Tahlia for being the first to share her work:

Life is more fun if you play games

By Tahlia Bentley-Dean – Year 11

You may agree or you may disagree. I however have a particular belief that gambling is a sure way of getting nothing out of something. You might have the idea that it’s too early to think about your child and gambling, but some children start gambling as young as 10 years old and most of them have gambled by the age of 15. It seems unrealistic when the ‘legal’ age is 18 right?

There are more than 3000 online gambling websites worldwide and more than 100 video games rated as suitable for children that have gambling themes and content. This is not even including the arcade games where you can win chocolate or teddy bears, this can lead to young people in future moving on from playing these harmless games to more serious types of gambling in later adolescence. In fact, children see it so regularly that 75% of children recall seeing most betting adverts at the sport stadium (Gambling Australia).

Let me ask you a question. On average how much money do you think gets spent on pokies yearly?

An article in the Bendigo Advertiser (15/03/2015) showed that in the 2014-2015 financial year Bendigo had spent a whopping $47 million on pokies and all that money was losses. When you think about going for an hour’s worth of gambling, think about this. One hour of gambling equates to eight minutes winning and 52 minutes losing (YouTube – pokie probability).

Gambling promoters show all the money being won, how your life can change dramatically from the winnings, but the reality is, no-one ever wins.  When you win, you get a high so you keep playing. Then you lose. Then you chase your losses. It’s an unnecessary cycle.

75% of children foresee that gambling is a normal part of sport, and 25% of children from age eight to seventeen can name four or more betting companies (Gambling Australia). Gambling problems affect intimate partners as well as other family members including children, parents, siblings and even grandparents.

The family environments of people with gambling issues may also be effected by high levels of anger and conflict, as well as low levels of effective communication and less engagement in family activities. This can also lead to having a destructive influence on your children leaving them feeling unwanted and frightened.

Overall, gambling has a substantial impact on all that surrounds you. It’s always just a touch away on your electronic device, at the pub down the road, at your local sports club and even easier for your children to access. It’s your chance to enlighten the next generation and take control.

So ask, is life more fun if you play games?