Is letting the children have a bet on the cup a bit of fun or is it setting them up for a lifelong problem?
Is letting the children have a bet on the cup a bit of fun or is it setting them up for a lifelong problem? robstyle

Should you let the kids make a bet on Melbourne Cup?

FAVOURITE colours, lucky numbers and the best names. Forget recent form and the jockey and the trainer. That's how I bet on the Melbourne Cup and that's what makes it fun.

I see it as fun instead of a science, and I have allowed my children to join in.

They go over the guide and we read the numbers and discuss what colours and patterns look nice.

We giggle at some of the names and then we pore over it again as they choose their favourite.

It's a nice time spent together doing something out of the ordinary.

They are allowed to pick one horse each and I put a $1 each way bet on it for them.

I can hear the screams from some of you right now.

What? Children gambling? What are you thinking? You should have your parent licence revoked. That is only going to set them up for a lifetime of problem gambling! And you may be right.

With places offering poker machines open until the wee hours of the morning, and online betting in myriad forms available 24/7, it is a serious issue that our communities need to better address. But let's not get carried away just yet...

In our case it started innocently, as most things do. I see it as fun, so why shouldn't they join in?

But when Master Five had a win last year and I handed over the meagre winnings to go in his money box, I questioned what I was doing.

Then when he asked if he could spend his winnings I thought, "oh dear, it's begun''.

I've discussed that it's only something we do once a year and we are more likely to lose than win. I explained that often it is as good as throwing money in the bin, but if it's just a small bet it can be a bit of fun.

However, I realised if I was going to continue this annual event guilt-free, I would need to come up with a better plan.

I briefly pondered more suitable ways to celebrate Melbourne Cup with my children, and could see the halo shining above my head. But that was short-lived.

I decided, this year winnings from anyone in the family would go towards a dinner out, something we could enjoy all together. Surely there's no harm in that.

It means we can continue our fun of perusing the guide and getting involved in arguably one of the biggest sporting events in our nation without feeling guilty... I hope.

Get in touch via sue.clohesy@newsregional