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Definition of Underage Gambling

Underage gambling is when anyone under the legal gambling age places a bet. It can be in any form of legalized gambling, such as online casinos, sportsbooks, scratchcards, and lotteries.

How Know Your Customer (KYC) Prevents Underage Gambling

The KYC process is a system of verification online betting sites use to confirm the identity of their customers. It involves providing personal documents which the site cross-references to ensure the bettor is who they say they are. Although it helps limit the prospects for fraud and money laundering, age verification is a critical aspect.

What are the Legal Gambling Ages?

Different countries take varying approaches to the legal gambling age. So, it’s the player’s responsibility to check the legal age in their local jurisdiction. Bettors must understand their location is what defines the legal gambling age, not their nationality. Here are the top ten most common ages to remember.

  • United Kingdom 18+
  • Netherlands 24+
  • United States 21+ (varies by state)
  • Australia 18+
  • Greece 23+
  • Italy 18+
  • Malta 18+ (but 25+ for Maltese citizens)
  • Netherlands 18+
  • Spain 18+
  • India 21+

Preventing Minors’ Access to Betting Accounts

Parents are responsible for ensuring their children cannot access their betting accounts. There are multiple ways to do this, but the most critical are as follows.

Use strong passwords and PINs

A strong password is an excellent way to keep a minor out of a betting account. Ensure it’s not something easy to guess, such as their birthday, and keep your account protected.

Educate children about the dangers of gambling

Education is a significant aspect of prevention. Providing information about gambling and what can happen, particularly to a younger brain which can’t deal with the hormonal changes adequately, can stop children from gambling before they are ready.

Keep credit cards and betting apps out of reach

Don’t leave the means to gamble unattended. If minors can’t access gambling apps or the funds to bet, they won’t be able to.

What are the Risks of Underage Gambling?

There are significant risks to minors if they partake in underage gambling.

Financial problems

Minors typically don’t have any form of income. As a result, it can rapidly lead to financial issues. It can lead to criminality to fund betting, making it an even more substantial risk.

Emotional distress

Losing bets is distressing, particularly for minors who cannot effectively deal with the emotions. Over a prolonged period of time, it can lead to mental health issues.

Academic performance issues

Focusing on betting instead of schooling means the minor cannot perform at their peak level. As a result, their grades will fall, which can significantly impact their life.

Increased risk of addiction

Minor’s brains aren’t fully developed. So, when betting, they’re more susceptible to addiction. They are more likely to develop gambling problems and spiral out of control.

Why Gambling Can Be Appealing to Minors?

Gambling has an appeal to many people, and minors are no different. We’ve put together the reasons why they’re likely to want to gamble and why it’s essential to protect minors.

Thrill of winning

The exhilaration a win provides is an adrenaline rush. Minors experience when playing sports or online games, so they will feel it when gambling. However, the stakes are much higher with betting, so protecting them from experiencing it before they are ready is vital.

Peer pressure

If their friends are gambling, they could push them into doing it, too. It’s the same concept behind drugs, smoking, and bullying. Peer pressure is a huge reason why minors start betting.

Exposure to gambling through advertising

Advertising can glamorize betting to minors. It doesn’t focus on the risks and only the positives. As a result, it becomes much more appealing, particularly to minors who don’t have a full understanding of the ramifications of gambling.

Signs Your Child May Be Gambling

It’s vital to look out for the signs that your kids are underage gambling. Our list of signs makes it easier to spot if there’s an issue.

Unexplained money or valuables going missing

If a minor suddenly has money without a way of earning it, or valuable items vanish from your home, they could be gambling. The money will be from winnings and missing items will be to fund further wagers. Both options are dangerous, as even if the minor currently wins, they won’t have the means to handle a potential losing streak.

Increased secrecy about online activities

Secrecy over online activity is always something to be suspicious about. It could be online gambling or even something even more dangerous. Make sure to be aware of what they’re doing online

Sudden mood swings or irritability

Teenagers are prone to mood swings at the best of times, but an increase in their behavior is often a sign of something deeper. Make sure to keep an eye on any changes in their actions, as it can be a sign they’re gambling.

Declining academic or social performance

If a former good student begins struggling, there are often other reasons behind it. A minor who’s gambling will likely struggle with their schoolwork because they’re focusing their attention of betting.

Finding gambling-related materials in their possession

The most obvious sign is finding gambling-related items on a child. If they have betting slips, casino chips, or a gambling app on their phones, it’s almost certain they are wagering their money.

How to Prevent Underage Gambling as a Parent?

Protecting children is a critical aspect of parenting. So, here are some ways to ensure minors stay away from gambling.

Encouraging Healthy Screen Time

Ensure your child doesn’t engage in negativity when using screens. Avoiding gambling YouTubers and sites with betting advertisements are excellent examples of positive viewing.

Set reasonable time limits on device usage

Don’t allow children to spend multiple hours at a time on a device. Boredom can often set in, leading to seeking out new things to do. A sensible time limit ensures minors don’t become dependent on their devices.

Promote alternative hobbies and activities

Sports and social clubs are excellent ways to give your children access to a vibrant life. Hobbies away from potential gambling opportunities will ensure they have the best chance of remaining bet-free.

Foster open communication about online experiences

Don’t be afraid to have difficult conversations with your children. Speak to them about what can happen online and how to remain safe. It will be uncomfortable, but it’s a small price to pay for their protection.

Educate your child about responsible internet usage

Education is a fantastic prevention for many issues. Ensure your child is aware of being responsible online. Stick to safe websites, don’t talk to strangers or share private information. It’s superb advice in general, but will help to keep them away from underage gambling.

Website and Software Blocking Apps

Parents can use blocking software to keep their children safe online and add an extra layer of protection.

Net Nanny

An internet filter from SafeToNet Limited. It uses AI to block potentially harmful and adult material instantly. It costs between $40 and $90 per year.

Norton Family

A web filter with screen management aspects. Costs between $90 and $190 per year, but regularly has offers available.


Monitoring software with web filtering and device management aspects. Costs between $40 and $70 per year. Recently took over Family Zone to provide an improved service with greater coverage.


Underage gambling is a concerning issue that requires awareness and preventive measures. By understanding the risks and taking steps to prevent access, parents and guardians can ensure that their children grow up in a safe and responsible digital environment.

Vlad Hategan photo

In my career, I wrote for companies like Daily Coin or Crypto Banter while also writing social media content for a number of projects - including NFTs and tokens.

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Facts Checked by Will Wood