Children whose parents are problem gamblers are more likely to have bought scratch cards, according to a study by the charity GamCare, which warns that early exposure risks putting youngsters on the path to addiction more late in life.

More than a third (38%) of Britons who were problem gamblers had bought scratch cards for their children, compared to 22% of those with a low level problem, 8% of no problem gamblers and 5% of no -players, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by GamCare, which operates the National Gambling Helpline.

Alexa Roseblade, senior program manager at GamCare, said scratch cards can “often be an entry point into other forms of gambling”, despite the fact that they rarely represent problem gambling, with only 4 % of helpline callers citing scratch cards.

“We regularly hear that exposure at a young age can lead to other forms of gambling in their lives. This is particularly the case if young people experience a big win at a young age, where they might want to hunt again the feeling of that victory in other forms,” she said.

“YouGov data highlights that the path to problem gambling can start much closer to home than people realize. This shows how young people are much more likely to be exposed to objects such as cards scratching if a parent is already engaged in harmful play, and it can normalize other forms of play behavior later on.

This was the Jordan Penderson experiment. He started playing when his family members encouraged him, from the age of five, to choose horses for the Grand National, which he recalls finding “mature” and “exciting”.

At 12 his grandmother asked him to choose lottery numbers for her, at 14 he was bought scratch cards, at 16 he bet on football and at 18 he taught people how to placing bets at bookmakers. At 20, he was a drug addict with a debt of £12,000.

Now 28, he plays recreationally, with his partner in control of his finances, and feels “in the right place”.

Despite his passion for horse-gathering craftsmanship, the social side of football betting and the thrill of a game of chance, he would never encourage his five-year-old son to gamble.

“If he wants to do it when he’s older, I’ll have that talk and talk to him about the position I’ve been in. I would prefer that he not play. I’ve seen the impact on people’s lives, I’ve seen it destroy families and communities, and while I enjoy the process of playing, I wouldn’t recommend it or endorse it in my opinion. son – no way,” he said.

Penderson said his addiction had had a “lasting impact” on his life, including having to work overtime and sacrificing experiences such as vacations with friends to pay off his debt, and prevented him from accessing the credit, for example to obtain a mortgage loan or to buy a car on financing.

The GamCare data is based on a survey of over 4,000 UK adults and over 500 14-15 year olds, which showed that 12% of parents had bought scratch cards for their children, while a fifth (20%) said they would consider doing so in the future.

Young parents, especially those aged 16 to 24, were much more likely to buy their children a scratch card.

More than a quarter (27%) of teens aged 14 and 15 said they had played scratch cards with family members, although the most common form of game played with parents was board games. arcade in person or online, at 29%.

One in seven parents (14%) said they had played games with their child in which they bet candy or pennies on the outcome, a figure that climbs to almost half (45%) of compulsive gamblers.

When asked how likely their child was to bet on sporting events when they were of legal age to do so, 35% of parents with gambling problems thought it was likely, compared to 7% parents who don’t play.

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