Is fun bingo really causing future problems for our children?

By Becky Mosley - May 1 2012

I was just skimming through some bingo news from all over the world and I came across an article on an Australian website regarding fun bingo that children play, asking the question will it have an impact on them in adult life and lead them to become addicted to gambling.

The bingo games that are being talked about sound similar to the kind of fun bingo you play while on holiday with your parents and perhaps your granny too in Benidorm before the cheesy evening entertainment starts so nothing too sinister. And you can assume that there are not big jackpots involved, so why all the fuss?

There are companies in Australia actively promoting kids school holiday bingo tournaments, the GIS feel that these type of events are luring children into the clubs to prepare them for gambling later on in their life and introducing them to the thrill that you get while winning.

GIS is the Nowra-based Gambling Impact Society and are behind the evidence produced for the Federal Government’s gambling enquiry in Sydney, Australia. The evidence was compiled following complaints from local residents in the Southern Highlands area who became concerned when they saw the “Kids School Holiday Bingo Popstars” advertisements. The chairwoman, Kate Roberts, said that the events ‘normalise ‘gambling behaviour for children when they are still too young to make rational choices.

The children are supervised while the activity takes place but the GIS feel that parents are using this as a babysitting service whilst they go to play at nearby poker machines.

The club involved with running the bingo tournaments, Clubs NSW, have argued that bingo is an innocent game for children to play and that in can help the children with numeracy skills. A spokesman for the club said “Churches teach bingo, kindergarten teachers teach bingo, kids play it at home with their parents. The game itself is no more a gambling activity than playing marbles or monopoly.”

He went on to say “The suggestion that an adult will want to play on a poker machine because they played bingo with mum or dad at their local club when they were five or six is close to the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard from the anti-gaming lobby”.

I found this article in the Illawarra Mercury newspaper from Australia, I don’t know if opinion of the people in Australia with gambling is different to the UK or not.

Hmm I feel it’s up to the parents of the children to decide if they want them to play or not, everyone has a different opinion on the matter I’m sure. I remember when I used to play bingo for pennies in Sunday school many years ago and I’m not a gambling addict so I think I’ll take my chances with my own children!

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