The Gambling Commission’s newly published “Young people and gambling 2017” report featured heavily in last night’s BBC News and today’s newspaper headlines, that include:
- “25,000 children in Britain are problem gamblers, report finds” – The Guardian
- “Skin betting: ‘Children as young as 11 introduced to gambling” – BBC News
- “UK Gambling Commission warns ½ million children involved in video game gambling” – Metro
- “NOT KIDDING: Warning over thousands of children as young as 11 who are using “skin” betting websites and apps” – The Sun
The research findings (that can be downloaded below) highlight concerns that children are experiencing gambling in situations where the risks are not always explained, leading the Gambling Commission to conclude that the research data “raises questions about the long term impact for children whose early experiences of gambling are in a consequence-free environment” such as free-to-play casino games, social media or within some computer games, without the same level of protections or responsible gambling messages as apply in the case of regulated gambling products.
This same subject provided the focus of last week’s GambleAware 5th annual Harm Minimisation Conference and follows on from October’s unprecedented joint action by the Gambling Commission, the Committee of Advertising Practice, the Advertising Standards Authority and the Remote Gambling Association to prevent gambling advertisements appealing to children.
The headline findings from this year’s annual report include:
- 12% of 11-16 year olds spent their own money on gambling in the past week (16% in 2016)
- This compares to 16% who had drunk alcohol 5% smoked cigarettes and 3% who had used drugs (in past week)
- 11% of 11-16 year olds have played free gambling-style social games online
- 11% of 11-16 year olds have bet with in-game items when playing computer or app-based games
- 11-16 year olds who have gambled in the past week spent an average of £10
- 80% have seen gambling adverts on TV, 70% on social media and 66% on other websites
- Most common forms of gambling (overall) include fruit machines (4%), private bets with friends (3%) and National Lottery scratchcards (3%)
- 9% of 11-16 year olds had spent their own money on licenced gambling (ie where either the operator or the premises requires a licence) in the past week
- 0.9% of 11-16 year olds are classified as ‘problem’ gamblers, 1.3% as ‘at risk’
- 39% of young people stated that their parents had discussed the problems that gambling can lead to with them.
Tim Miller, Gambling Commission Executive Director is quoted as saying: “We require gambling operators to have strong protections in place to prevent children from accessing their products and are actively reviewing how some, like age verification, can continue to be strengthened. However, it is clear that many children’s experiences of gambling-style activities are coming from the playground, the games console or social media rather than the bookmaker, the casino or the gambling website. That’s why it is essential that we work across industries and with parents so that together we can protect children and encourage those that choose to gamble in adulthood to do so safely.”
This year’s report can be downloaded below. You can read about last year’s report here.