Parents level up on links between gaming and gambling

By Laura Michell

Keilor Downs Secondary College is taking part in a Victorian-first program alerting parents to the links between gaming and gambling.

The school is one of 12 taking part in a pilot for the Gaming: Keep Calm and Continue parenting program, which is run by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

In the coming months, parents of Keilor Downs students will be asked to attend workshops where they can learn about popular video games such as Fortnite, the language used in the games, and their links to online gambling.

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation chief executive Shane Lucas said many parents were unfamiliar with the world of online gaming and the use of monetised features such as skins and loot boxes which allow players to level up.

Mr Lucas said these features increase players’ exposure to and participation in gambling and gambling-like activities.

“There is a strong focus on educating parents about the terms that are unfamiliar to most of us who are over the age of 25,” he said.

“Children are engaging in an online world that their parents are not familiar with.”

Mr Lucas said the foundation’s research found elements of some online games replicated gambling activities.

“The majority of the games are completely harmless and in many respects may be beneficial, but certainly the research we have indicates there are some games that are starting to encourage activities and behaviours that expose children to gambling,” he said.

As reported by Star Weekly, Brimbank council raised concerns about gambling creeping into online gaming in June last year, fearing the features of some games were normalising gambling.

The council wrote to the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation asking for it to conduct further research into the prevalence and impact of online gambling.