CASAC Encourages Parents To Talk Gambling With Children

The Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council is working with the New York Council on Problem Gambling to educate parents of school age youth about gambling and problem gambling while encouraging parents to talk to their children about the issue.

The New York Council on Problem Gambling 2013 Problem Gambling Parent Education and Outreach Project is a statewide, coordinated effort to raise awareness of problem gambling with parents. The project focuses on raising awareness through face-to-face parent education sessions, information dissemination, and through various advertising efforts including web, television and print. The 2013 activities and messages for this project are projected to reach approximately one million parents across New York state.

According to the results of a 2011 survey administered to Chautauqua County students by the Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council:

56.2 percent of students in seventh through 12th grades reported they had gambled in the past year, compared to 48 percent statewide.

According to the results of a survey conducted by the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services:

48 percent of students in seventh through 12th grades statewide reported they had gambled in the past year.

10 percent of adolescents in New York state, about 140,000, have had problems due to their gambling.

An additional 10 percent are at risk for problem gambling.

Children and adolescents are more likely to gamble if they witness adults gambling, and especially if the adults show interest and excitement about gambling. Adolescents and adults with gambling problems frequently report being first introduced to gambling by family members. Children also indicate they would turn to their parents for help if they ever experienced problems with gambling.

CASAC officials said parents play a crucial role in educating their children about gambling. According to CASAC, children need to be taught gambling is an occasional activity meant for entertainment only, not as a way to make money, and that there are certain risks and negative consequences associated with engaging in gambling activities. A CASAC news release also states parents should discourage friends and family members from giving lottery tickets or engaging in other forms of gambling with their children.

Patricia Z. Munson, CASAC executive director, said Tony Bellanca has returned to CASAC to work part time on the project. Bellanca provided gambling-prevention services at CASAC for several years before retiring in 2012. Bellanca can be reached at CASAC at 664-3608. For more information on the project, visit www.nyproblemgambling.org/publications/printed-materials/problem-gambling-and-your-kids.