Conditioning our children to gamble

We do not let Milo, swear, drink, drive, play the lottery but when we visit a seaside resort we often find ourselves being pulled into the amusements along the seafront by Milo and his cousins. Normally we all get involved with the games but this time I stood back whilst soothing Oscar and I have gained a completely different perspective from this. I watched a vast amount of young children locating foot stalls for them to reach 2p slot machines hoping that prizes would fall to their feet. Parents on fruit machines whilst their children screamed in their prams out of boredom.

As a child, my parents always took me to amusements whilst on UK holidays which I always thoroughly enjoyed and this may be why I have allowed Milo to do the same. Until this holiday, the idea of going into an arcade with Milo and allowing him to play with more or less what he wanted to play with was very normal to me. But effectively I am allowing Milo to gamble, yes more often than not for toys. But why is this more acceptable than gambling for money?

Milo does also like to play air hockey as well as motorbike racing but one of his favourite things to do is sourcing machines that give him tickets of which he can exchange for toys at the end of our trip. When I say toys, they are normally very poorly made items that would have cost far less money purchasing it from the shop yourself. Despite this, Milo still wants to play the games and machines to collect enough tickets to exchange at the toy kiosk.

Granted, people may say this is fun or a little treat whilst on holiday but why is this more acceptable opposed to children playing the lottery or putting a bet on a horse? Of course machines designed for children are normally on a lower money scale but what is the difference in theory between children wanting to gamble for money or toys? Perhaps this could normalise gambling for Milo which could affect him in the long run. Milo may think I am mean, but the visits to seaside amusements may need to be stopped. Am I the only one to think like this?

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