UK Youth Gambling in Decline—The Remaining Activity Needs to be Tackled Head-on

Published November 8, 2019 by Lee R

UK Youth Gambling in Decline—The Remaining Activity Needs to be Tackled Head-on

A new study sample reveals just how far the youth gambling problem has been reduced in the UK.

The UK youth are gambling less—in an environment where even one is too much.

New Call for Vigilance

The call for industry cooperation from the GB Gambling Commission to tackle underage gambling in the UK's progressing policy continues.

Latest Survey

The regulator's latest report Young People and Gambling Survey 2019 indicates a decline in the number of 11- to 16-year-olds taking part in gambling activities, which is a clear step in the right direction but still just the beginning of the work ahead.

Among a sample group of 2,943 UK 11 to 16 year olds, 11% spent their own money on gambling in the seven days prior to the survey, for a solid 3% drop from 14% in 2018.

Another 36% of youth respondents acknowledged spending money on gambling during the past 12 months, for a second 3% drop recorded—down from 39% in the previous year.

Holding fast was the percentage of problem gamblers at 1.7%. However, the majority of those surveyed (89%) had not gambled in any form over the past year.

Commission's Appeal

The Commission called for the industry to continue to work with the regulator, government, charities, teachers and parents as long as any youth are gambling.

Commission Director Speaks

Commission executive director Tim Miller said the report revealed two primary threats to youth: gambling on age-restricted products and gambling style games.

“Most of the gambling covered by the report takes place in ways which the law permits, but we must keep working to prevent children and young people from having access to age restricted products.”

Behavior Results

The breakdown on gaming behavior included the discovery that 5% of respondents had placed a private bet with friends in the past seven days; 3% played cards for money, 4% played slot machines, 3% bought National Lottery scratchcards and 2% played the National Lottery.

Another 5% acknowledged playing online using their parents’ account with permission during the past year, and 7% acknowledged gambling online at some point in their lives.


Clearly, a sufficient youth gambling policy is one that would have all these numbers at zero, so vigilance remains necessary in an otherwise effective system where zero tolerance remains the priority.

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