Child gamblers: The signs to look out for and where to seek help

Many youngsters gamble through their phones or laptops. Credit: PA

The first treatment centre specifically for children with gambling addictions is to be opened by NHS England.

Health bosses say the move is in response to growing numbers of youngsters who have problems.

Latest figures suggest there are 55,000 children and young people aged 11 to 16 with a gambling problem, and about 450,000 youngsters are gambling regularly.

What are the warning signs that your child could have a gambling addiction?

Here is some advice for parents on how to spot the tells of child gambling from Action on Addiction:

  • Unexplained absences from school or college

  • Sudden deterioration in grades or failure to complete assignments on time

  • Unaccountable explanation for new items of value in possession

  • Borrowing or stealing money

  • Selling personal belongings

  • Change or uncharacteristic shows of personality or behaviour

  • Unusual interest in sports scores, both online and in newspapers, magazines etc.

  • Withdrawing from family and friends

Most sporting events, big and small, can attract bets. Credit: PA

How can you and your child tackle the issue of gambling?

  • Talk to your child about betting and gambling

  • Show children that you are willing to talk to them openly

  • Give them the facts - ideally before they are exposed to the fantasy

  • Seek professional support if your child has a serious problem

  • Increase your own awareness and understanding of the issues and warning signs

  • Offer a connection with people who've been through similar experiences

Where can you go to seek help?