Gambling is a no-no for many Asian families or for the parents at least. But startling new research has found that Asian children who gamble are twice as likely as white children to develop harmful addictions. Eastenders actor Nitin Ganatra explores the world of the secret young gamblers and investigates when a little flutter can become a much bigger problem. The research by the University of Salford found 20% of children aged 11-15 are regular gamblers. Yet although this was lower among Asian youngsters they are much more likely to become addicted in a way that causes them harm as a result. And they don't have to break the law to place a bet. The youngsters we spoke to go to arcades and gamble against friends on computer games. But many do keep it secret from family who disapprove or use money they've been given for other things. And secrecy can be a major factor in disguising a problem and letting it get out of hand. 'Jag' started playing on the slots with friends and ended up gambling £3-5000 pounds a week at casinos. After seven years he admitted his problem to his parents but they found it difficult to understand. He says many Asian parents have so little experience of gambling they don't know the risks or the signs to look out for. Some gambling agencies say the 'shame' associated with such a problem has even led some to stop their children getting the help they need. The Gordon Moody Association says the increased availability of gambling has meant they're seeing people getting into trouble quicker and younger. Their typical clients are now early twenties rather than late 30s.
So is the approach of Asian parents actually increasing the risk for their children and should Asian religious leaders and teachers be trained to spot the signs?