Exploring Gambling Motivations

1 in 4 young people gambled with their own money in the last 12 months. This activity examines why some young people take part in gambling. It prompts participants to consider risks, underlying root causes and alternatives.

This activity is for use with parents and caregivers only and is not for use with young people.


20-30 min


Post-it notes, pens

Activity illustrations (8)


  1. Split the group into teams of 3 or 4 (if the group is only a few people, just do this individually), and provide each team with a stack of post-it notes and pens. Now, each team will have 5 minutes to write down as many reasons or motivations why a young person might choose to gamble.

  2. After 5 minutes, ask the teams to count the number of post-its. Ask a volunteer from the team with the most post-it notes to read out each note, and work together to group them into relating themes (e.g. on a flip chart or whiteboard).
  3. Ask the remaining teams to share any that haven’t been mentioned yet, and add them to the emerging themes.
  4. Now you will have an overview of the different reasons why some young people might decide to gamble. Some follow-up
    questions you could ask:

    • Are any of these motivations more risky than others?
    • Are there any root causes underpinning some of these motivations? (E.g. gambling stigma, industry tactics and ads, poverty)
    • Depending on their motivations – What could this person do instead? How might they be supported or limited by our regulations or social norms?


Additional notes:

This activity is designed to use with parents and caregivers, and is not suitable for use with children and young people. This is because discussing the prevalence of gambling with young people may unintentionally normalise gambling, or cause them to feel they are ‘missing out.’