Gambling addiction amongst children in the UK is increasing at an alarming pace. While there have been steps taken and suggested by the gambling regulator and lawmakers, it is concerning that what’s done so far is just not enough.
According to the latest study from the Cardiff University academics which is amongst the largest of its kind in the UK, over 40% of children and teens aged 11 to 16 have gambled at least once in the past year.
The study also reveals that fruit machines at an arcade, pub or club were the most popular form of gambling among the age group. The children were also engaged in playing cards for money while placing a private bet among friends and buying lotto tickets were also common.
Earlier, a UK Gambling Commission study found that the number of children at risk of problem gambling has increased by 400 per cent in the past two years.
The number of boys engaged in gambling has been found to be more than that of girls. In the UK the minimum age to wager or engage with gambling products is 18. However, those between 16 to 18 can purchase National Lottery products, including draw-based games, scratch-cards and online instant wins.
“While over the past 20 years or so, lots of adolescent risk behaviours like smoking and drinking alcohol have become less common, we are seeing the emergence of new risk behaviours in today’s society. Our research suggests that gambling might be emerging as a new public health issue.
The evidence shows that people who gamble earlier in life are more likely to become problem gamblers in adulthood.”
– DR GRAHAM MOORE, DECIPHER
The study questioned 37,000 students as part of the 2017 School Health Research Network Student Health and Wellbeing Survey, which represents 193 secondary schools in Wales.
They were asked a number of different questions around gambling including if they had gambled in the past 12 months, how often they had felt bad about gambling and what sorts of gambling they had participated in.