Gambling education pilot a welcome step


A new pilot program to reduce the risks to kids of online gambling and gaming addiction is a welcome step to reduce gambling harm – but more needs to be done.

Three Brimbank schools will be included in the Victorian Government pilot program, which will teach parents at 12 schools to minimise the risk of excessive gaming, in-game bullying and exposure to gambling content in kids’ games.

Brimbank Cr Virginia Tachos said Council had long held concerns about the normalisation of gambling through gambling features in children’s video games (such as loot boxes) and gambling advertising during sport broadcasts.

In February this year Council resolved to raise these issues at the 2019 National General Assembly of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) – and electronic gambling reform is identified as a key priority in the Brimbank Advocacy Plan.

Cr Tachos said Brimbank would continue to advocate at a Federal Government level for stricter regulation of video games with gambling features and to close loopholes that allowed for gambling advertising during sports broadcasts.

“We need more stringent classifications of video games with gambling features in order to support parents to understand and navigate the risks – along with closing loopholes that allow gambling advertising during sporting events, which are often watched by children and teens.

“We are extremely troubled by the normalisation of gambling, both through advertising during sporting broadcasts, and through gambling features in children’s video games, which this pilot seeks to address.

“Gambling-style features in children’s video games are an insidious presence that normalises gambling even as children play in their homes.

“Similarly, gambling advertising during sports broadcasts on television and radio undermines an otherwise healthy interest in sport.

“Brimbank Council looks forward to working together with Victorian and Federal Governments to explore these and other opportunities to reduce gambling harm,” Cr Tachos said.

Three Brimbank schools will be included in the Victorian Government Gaming: Keep calm and continue parenting pilot program: Keilor Downs Secondary College; Marian College in Sunshine West; and Jackson School in St Albans.

Cr Tachos praised the pilot program as a valuable investment in reducing gambling harm.

“This program is a fantastic investment by the Victorian Government, which will support parents with practical steps to help their kids have a positive gaming experience, and increase children’s awareness of the potential risks that come with online gambling,” Cr Tachos said.