GambleAware’s 7th annual conference focuses on children and young people

GambleAware held its 7th annual conference yesterday, 5th December 2019, with the theme “Keeping children and young people safe from gambling harms”. 

You can download below:

  1. The conference programme
  2. The conference speech delivered yesterday by GambleAware’s CEO, Marc Etches
  3. A press release entitled “Young people key focus of GambleAware conference as as findings of in-depth study reveal what factors influence young people’s gambling habits” relating to an in-depth longitudinal study of gambling in late adolescence and early adulthood, commissioned by GambleAware and part of the ‘Bristol Children of the 90s’ ALSPAC Gambling Study
  4. The follow-up assessment report at 24 years in relation to that longitudinal study
  5. The executive summary relating to that follow-up assessment report
  6. A press release entitled “GambleAware partners with PSHE Association to publish guidance for teachers on gambling harms”

The executive summary of the follow-up assessment report states as follows:

This report describes a longitudinal study of young peoples’ gambling between 17 and 24 years, using a contemporary UK cohort, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), known as Children of the Nineties. The aims of the ALSPAC Gambling Study were to describe gambling behaviour in young people aged 17-24 years, investigate the antecedents of regular and problem gambling, and explore the associations with other addictive behaviours and mental health.

When the children were aged 6 years in 1997-8, their parents completed the South Oaks Gambling Screen, and when aged 18 the parents completed the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). Between 2008-2018, young adult participants in ALSPAC subsequently completed computer-administered gambling surveys in research clinics, on paper, and online. All young people still registered with the ALSPAC (n= 10,155) were invited to participate. The sample sizes completing the gambling surveys were 3,757 at age 17 years, 4,340 at 20 years, and 4,345 at 24 years. Gambling frequency questions and the PGSI were asked at each age. Depression, anxiety and wellbeing scores, and drug and alcohol usage, were collected by self-completion questionnaires.

Participation in gambling in the past year was reported by 54% of 17-year-olds, rising to 68% at 20 years, and 66% at 24 years, with little overall variance. The most common forms of gambling were playing scratchcards, playing the lottery, and private betting with friends. The only activity which increased markedly between 17 and 24 years was gambling on activities via the internet, especially among males. At 24 years, nearly 50% of all gambling activities in males were carried out online compared to 11% for females.

Regular (weekly) gambling showed a strong male gender bias, increasing from 13% at 17 years to 17% at 24 years. Regular gamblers were more likely to have a low IQ, an external locus of control, and high scores on a sensation seeking scale. They were more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, and to use social media than non-gamblers. Family factors associated with regular gambling included having younger mothers with low education levels, mothers who struggled financially, and parents who gambled regularly.

UPDATE: BGC has published on its website the following reflections on the follow-up assessment report:

Last week GambleAware published the findings of their study into levels of betting and gaming during late adolescence and early adulthood. The findings add to existing research that highlights the importance of ensuring young people and their parents understand the risks associated with gambling.

The purpose of GambleAware’s research was to understand the behaviours associated with – and causes of problem gambling, while also exploring its relationship with other addictive behaviours and mental health amongst young people aged 17-24. The survey of 3,500 people in this age bracket, conducted by Bristol University, recorded that more than half of 17-year-olds have gambled in the past year – with patterns of problem gambling likely to be set by the age of 20. Individuals who were exposed to gambling by their parents were more likely to be at risk of addiction.

It is important to note that most young people gamble without harm and that the most common forms of gambling by 17-year-olds are scratch cards, the lottery, and private gambling with friends – all of which are legal. Nonetheless, the report underscores the importance of a collaborative industry approach which has a zero tolerance of betting and gaming by anyone underage. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to gamble with the BGC’s members. We firmly believe that educating young people and their parents about the risks and illegality of underage betting and gaming is of the utmost importance.

To address this, new age verification procedures were introduced this year for UK licensed operators that now make it virtually impossible for any child to open and use an online account with any of our members. Our members have led the way, adopting a whistle-to-whistle ban on advertising during the coverage of live sport. Additionally, the Youth Outreach programme, supported by BGC members and recently expanded by GamCare, has developed local hubs to help identify individuals at risk of problem gambling. The 2,000 professionals working on this project have already helped more than 7,500 young people. Such initiatives can ensure that when young people turn 18, they know the risks associated with betting and gaming and they can engage with a fair and safe environment in an enjoyable way.

Looking forward, as part of our recently announced Safer Gambling Commitments, BGC members will be providing £10 million towards a four-year national education campaign for adolescents and young people. Delivered by experts such as GamCare and YGam, the programme will interact directly with young people and support teachers. This will be complemented by mandatory PHSE teaching on gambling in schools from September 2020.

More widely, we are working with the financial services industry to ensure that young people cannot undertake gambling transactions when underage. We are also working with advertising bodies to introduce new technologies to prevent gambling adverts being seen by anyone under the age of 18.

There are two strands to our approach to young people and gambling. Firstly, ensuring that no one under the age of 18 can gamble illegally, and secondly providing young people and their parents with the necessary education and support to bet and game safely and responsibly.

We look forward to making great progress in these areas in 2020, working collaboratively with organisations across the sector.