Young People, Horseracing and Socialising

4 Nov 2022

Once known for its horseracing and bold fashion choices, the Melbourne Cup and other spring racing events have become a social hangout arena for many young people.

Basically, it’s an excuse to dress up and party with friends.

In a survey of 72 young people, 88% said they attend the races for social purposes rather than to watch the sport itself. 47% said they go for birthday parties or other special occasions. 

Research has found a connection between social influence and elevated risk of gambling issues. It showed that people may experience peer pressure to gamble if they have friends with positive attitudes toward sports betting.

With alcohol misuse thrown into the mix, the races can be a harmful environment if healthy practices aren’t in place.

We share some tips for safer gambling this horseracing season, so you can look after yourself and your mates during all the fun.


3 Steps for Safer Gambling this Horseracing Season

Horseracing and gambling often go hand in hand. If you’re planning to place a bet, it’s important to know how to avoid the risk of gambling harm.

1.      Know the risks and harms of gambling

Gambling is a common activity in Aussie culture. In fact, 70% of Queenslanders gamble. But how many people who gamble know the risks and harms that come with it?

Understanding how gambling works and the facts and myths around gambling will likely change your view on the chances of winning.

Relationship problems, financial problems, issues with work or study, health problems, and mental and emotional distress are all just some of the potential types of gambling harm.

Knowing the “why” of avoiding risky gambling and talking about it with your mates can help encourage safer gambling habits in your social groups.

2.      Know your limits

To stay in control, you have to stay self-aware. This goes for betting and drinking.

Decide in advance the amount of money you will spend on gambling. You should only bet with what you can afford to lose. It can help to have this amount of cash on you or on a card so you can’t go beyond your limit.

Keep count of your drinks and know your limits. Alcohol and other substances can increase the chance of risky gambling as it can lower inhibitions, impair your sense of judgement and control, and increase your confidence to keep gambling. This is why heavy drinking and gambling shouldn’t mix.

You can learn more about gambling and alcohol in this blog post.

3.      Know the signs of risky gambling

If you notice these signs in yourself or others this racing season, it could be a red flag for risky gambling:

  • Borrowing money to gamble
  • Feeling guilty or remorseful about gambling
  • Hiding or lying about the extent of gambling
  • Arguing with friends/family/partner after gambling
  • Spending more time or money gambling than planned
  • Losing and having an urge to return as soon as possible to win back losses.


Where to Get Help

If you need some support or you’re worried about someone you care about, our experienced counsellors can help.

You can call the 24/7 gambling helpline on 1800 858 858 to chat or make a face-to-face appointment.

You can learn more about our gambling support services here.

Contact us

If gambling is impacting your life or a loved one's life, it's okay to reach out for help. It’s free and confidential.

Call the 24/7 Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858

Face-to-face counselling locations