31% of children spent their own money on gambling in last 12 months – report

Almost a third of 11 to 16-year-olds (31%) spent their own money on some form of gambling in the last year, according to a survey.

The most common types of gambling were legal or did not feature any age restrictions, such as playing arcade games (22%), betting between friends and family (15%) and playing cards for money (5%), the Gambling Commission’s annual Young People and Gambling report said.

A minority of children said their gambling was on fruit and slot machines (3%), betting on eSports (2%), National Lottery scratchcards (1%), playing National Lottery online instant win games (1%), placing a bet through a betting website or app (1%), or playing casino games online (1%).

Overall, 0.9% of the age group are classed as problem gamblers.

Some 2.4% are considered to be “at risk” gamblers while 27.3% are “non-problem” gamblers.

Most young people (78%) who spent their own money gambling in the last 12 months said they did so because they considered it fun.

Three in 10 (28%) said they had seen family members they live with gamble, of which 7% indicated that it had resulted in arguments or tension at home.

However, one in 10 (11%) said that gambling by a family member had helped to pay for things such as holidays, trips or clubs.

The commission said: “In this year’s survey, whilst the headline data around regulated age-restricted products is encouraging, there is clearly a group who still struggle with gambling.

“We are committed to understanding and acting on these findings in more detail to help us, and a variety of other stakeholders, appreciate if and how young people are playing on regulated and non-regulated products, the challenges, and the wider implications.”

It added: “Preventing gambling-related harm is at the heart of our work and we have accelerated our drive to make gambling even safer.

“Just some of those examples include ramping up our enforcement activity against failing operators, including those who have targeted children, clamping down hard on online slots products, increasing online age and ID verification, strengthening customer interaction requirements, and banning gambling on credit cards.”