Whether you like it or not, there are more gambling sites than ever. If you’ve used the internet in any capacity, there’s a good probability that you’ve come into contact with a gambling firm either directly or indirectly. The same goes for the youth of today who are going to be exposed to the concept of gambling and the existence of the sites. Is it time to introduce gambling lessons or awareness courses to school curriculums? Some schools in Northern Ireland have already introduced such lessons for 11 to 14-year-olds about the issue, prompting further discussion, especially when you consider in the USA, online poker is only becoming more popular and increasingly accessible.
The Purpose of Awareness
There has to be an underlying purpose for such content and learning material. Fundamentally, it’s to give the youth of today a better understanding of what gambling is and how it can impact their lives if they do not fully appreciate the complexities around it. The prime directive is to protect future generations from any kind of strife with an unhealthy relationship with gambling. It could be said that the current crisis and addiction rates to gambling are a result of a lack of education about it. While it probably won’t eliminate all future gambling issues, it will at least give prospective future gamblers all the tools and knowledge to make informed decisions about their habits and betting spend. Ultimately the course should be a response to the lack of knowledge currently exhibited by contemporary gamblers getting into debt and real turmoil.
By extension, it’s long been debated that schools in England have failed to prepare students for ‘real world’ activities like domestic financial management. While students opting for vocational business courses might have some understanding of how money works, mandatory training on the subject in theory will help young people better gauge recreational spending and allow them to better understand the impacts of gambling later in life.
Prompting Unnecessary Habits?
Teenagers usually like to go against the grain. Doing the exact opposite of what your parents and teachers tell you can appear cool and rebellious, so does telling a group of adolescents not to gamble sound like a good idea? It’s a difficult line to walk. If not administered properly the content could glamourize the concept of gambling instead of deterring it. Of course, any kind of classroom activity shouldn’t include a poker table where students wager their lunch money.
Impartial and Comprehensive Delivery
One of the most important aspects of the success of this project would be the delivery. Education boards must produce educational content which is unbiased and looks directly at the facts. A blanket: ‘gambling is bad’ approach, without proper explanation, will only provoke confusion among the students. That’s not to say that the course should be an in-depth look at how casinos make their money off the tears of gambling addicts but it does need to explain the issues, while also empowering the youth to make their own decisions. If this is done correctly, students will walk away from the course understanding the pitfalls but still have the liberty to do as they wish.
In the United States, there are some pilot schemes. However, there are some concerns about the way it is being administered. FanDuel, one of the primary betting companies in the US is partnering with education boards to deliver said schemes. While we can’t tarnish FanDuel for trying to help and that is amicable, why are they doing it? If the people behind the decision wanted to help for the sole purpose of helping, why do they need to label it with the FanDuel branding? Could it just be a marketing tool in disguise? Truly, it would be better if these USA online poker sites were not part of any kind of gambling education as they simply cannot be impartial due to their stake in the industry.
Make additions to the D.A.R.E. program?
A lot of schools in the United States and the United Kingdom adopted the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program from the 1980s onwards to help students aware of the issues that stem from recreational drug use. If you were lucky enough, you might have even had a policeman come into your school to teach the lesson. You might have even got a Daren the Lion plush toy or D.A.R.E. t-shirt after completing the course. Hopefully, the pillars of the course stay with you to this day as it informs youngsters about the dangers of addictive behaviors. Gambling is equally as addictive and there’s a real argument to suggest that it could be covered within the existing D.A.R.E. training material.