BACKGROUND: The problem-gambling literature has identified a range of individual, cognitive, behavioral and emotional factors as playing important roles in the development, maintenance and treatment of problem gambling. However, familial factors have often been neglected. The current study aims to investigate the possible influence of parental factors on offspring gambling behavior. METHOD: A total of 189 families (546 individuals) completed several questionnaires including the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) and the Gambling Related Cognition Scale (GRCS). The relationships were examined using Pearson product-moment correlations and structural equation modeling (SEM) analyses. RESULTS: Results showed that generally parents' (especially fathers') gambling cognitions and gambling behaviors positively correlated with offspring gambling behaviors and cognitions. However, SEM analyses showed that although parental gambling behavior was directly related to offspring gambling behavior, parental cognitions were not related to offspring gambling behavior directly but indirectly via offspring cognitions. CONCLUSION: The findings show that the influence of parental gambling cognition on offspring gambling behavior is indirect and via offspring cognitions. The results suggest a possible cognitive mechanism of transmission of gambling behavior in the family from one generation to the next.