Survey shows a quarter of 11-17-year-olds spend their own money gambling

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Gambling Commission finds 1% of young people placed a bet online in the past 12 months  

The Gambling Commission (GC) recently published its annual Young people and Gambling survey for 2023, produced by IPSO, which analyses the gambling behaviour, attitudes and awareness among young people in the UK.

The research was conducted in schools via online self-completion surveys and took in data from a sample of 3,453 11-17-year-olds from England, Scotland and Wales, gathered between February and July 2023.

Until this year, all previous Young people and Gambling surveys only assessed data from pupils aged 11-16.

The study found that 26% of 11-17-year-olds had spent their own money on gambling in the 12 months prior to taking part in the survey.

Other findings from the survey showed that 1% of young people had bet on a betting website/app, while 1% placed a bet on esports.

It also showed that 1% of participants had played National Lottery scratch cards and 1% played the National Lottery draw.

The most popular forms of gambling in the 11-17 age bracket were arcade games such as penny-pushers and claw grab machines at 19%, placing bets with friends and family for money (11%) and playing card games with friends and family (5%).

The survey identified, using a youth-adapted problem gambling screen, 0.7% of the cohort as ‘problem gamblers’, with 1.5% deemed ‘at risk’ and 23% ‘non-problem gamblers’. The research noted that 14% of participants played unregulated forms of gambling that fall outside the GC’s remit.

The diagnostic tool further found that young white people were more likely to be identified as non-problem gamblers (24.7%) compared to young black people and other minority ethnic groups (17.3%), and overall boys were found to be more likely classified as problem gamblers than girls (0.9% versus 0.1%).

Breaking problem gambling down by age, the research found that 11-13-year-olds were more likely to fall into this category than those aged 14-16 (1% versus 0.3%) but not significantly more than 17-year-olds at 0.5%.

The amount of young people spending their own money on gambling activities dropped 5% to 31% in 2023 compared to the previous year’s survey.

Of those young people surveyed, 28% said they had seen family members they live with gamble, while 58% said they had not and 14% didn’t know.

The study also asked young people who had spent their own money on gambling within the last 12 months how it affected their mood and whether it made them feel sad or guilty. For the majority, gambling did not adversely impact their general wellbeing, with only 4% admitting gambling made them feel sad and 6% saying they felt guilty. However, only 17% said gambling made them feel happy.

When asked how gambling impacted relationships with friends and family, 10% of participants said their gambling had led them to talk to their parents about how they feel, and 6% admitted to being uncomfortable around friends who might not approve of their gambling.

The survey stated: “Those who had seen family members gamble were more likely to have experienced most forms of gambling activities in the last 12 months, compared to young people who had not seen their family gamble.

“This mirrors the rates for active involvement in gambling in the last 12 months; with the differences most notable for activities where family members would be present such as placing a bet with friends or family (28%, compared with 13% of those who had not seen family members gamble).”


​EGR Intel

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