Leading lottery betting operator Lottoland has launched a new educational ‘Youth Gaming’ awareness programme in conjunction with government education officials in Gibraltar.

The new campaign has been launched to help mitigate the risks posed by online gaming trends among young people. It follows UK research released by Lottoland which revealed that almost half the nation’s children enjoy unlimited time online each day, while 1 in 5 have access to online games without any restrictions.

Lottoland’s PARENT initiative will support parents, educators and youth representatives, with the scheme being rolled out with Gibraltar’s Department for Education following initial consultation with teachers, NGOs and other stakeholders based locally.

“Focus group discussions held at the University in Gibraltar helped us create a forum of people crucial in bringing this scheme to life, and the response we have had has been incredibly positive,” said Lottoland CEO Nigel Birrell.

“Together, we will provide young people today with the resources they need to ensure they are empowered to ‘switch off’ when they need to, and ‘switched on’ enough to enjoy all that online gaming has to offer with the self-awareness required to stay safe and sound at all times.”

Lottoland’s research, conducted by OnePoll in September among 2,000 parents of children aged 7-16, also found that children’s online gaming habits cost the average UK parent £31 in charges – a third of whom are unaware of the costs due until it is time to pay.

Almost one in five (18 per cent) parents with children aged 7-16 in the UK do not know you can play games with other users live over the internet, while half of all UK youngsters spent up to four hours a day online in the school holidays, almost twice the amount of time on average that they do in term time.

PARENT scheme training sessions will be delivered to primary and secondary teachers by the Young Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM), and will begin in early 2019, subject to further talks with government education officials.

Evidence from programmes rolled out in Gibraltar will then be used to launch PARENT in other countries through the European Lotto Betting Association (ELBA), of which Lottoland is a founding member.

“Lottoland’s PARENT initiative is a testament to the lotto betting industry’s concern over the effects of 'digital overload'’ for young people,” said Lena Patel, ELBA chairperson and head of corporate affairs for Zeal’s myLotto24. “The initiative represents and confirms ELBA’s core values aimed at preventing harm and contributing to social responsibility. ELBA will carry forward the work started by this initiative and appreciates fellow member Lottoland launching this important initiative.”

YGAM chief executive Lee Willows commented: “It is a pleasure to be working alongside Lottoland to deliver this important new campaign. The insight from OnePoll paints a similar picture to what parents tell us in England and in response, YGAM has now developed a suite of resources aimed specifically at teachers and parents.

“In line with the message from the UK Gambling Commission, we believe empowering both with timely and relevant material so they can have conversations with their children around gaming is important.”

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