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450,000 Children Gamble in the UK, UKGC Study RevealsPublished December 4, 2016 by Elana K
A troubling new study conducted by the UK Gambling Commission reports that 450,000 children between the ages of 11 and 15 in England and Wales are currently gambling, and 9000 of those children are likely to develop problematic gambling habits later on.
A troubling new study conducted by the UK Gambling Commission reports that 450,000 children between the ages of 11 and 15 in England and Wales are currently gambling, and 9000 of those children are likely to develop problematic gambling habits later on in life.
According to the study, called the Young People and Gambling Report, boys gamble more than girls, and fruit machines are the most popular game of choice. In some cases, scratch cards and lottery tickets are purchased by the minor’s parents, while other children gamble on their own at betting shops, bingo-halls, arcades, online, and on their mobile devices. There are also those who use their parents’ account to gamble, sometimes with and sometimes without permission.
In all, the rate of children gambling is higher than the rates of children drinking alcohol, smoking, and using drugs.
Why Do Children Gamble?
The study revealed two main reasons why children gamble: To make money, and for fun and excitement. There is also no denying the role of advertisements in this phenomenon; 75% of the children surveyed reported seeing gambling ads on television, 63% saw ads on social media, and 57% saw ads on other websites they visited.
What Can Be Done to Reduce Child Gambling?
Tim Miller, executive director of the Gambling Commission, commented, “We want to reassure parents that our rules require gambling businesses to prevent and tackle underage gambling and we take firm action where young people are not properly protected.”
He also encouraged parents to speak to their children about the risks of gambling, so that if they choose to gamble in adulthood, they will do so in a safe and responsible way.
If you know a child who displays problematic gambling behavior, it is important to reach out to him or her for help. GamCare, an organization that works to prevent problem gambling, has a youth outreach program that includes free workshops for young people as well as trained professionals to counsel them. The important thing is to keep the lines of communication open.