Youth Gambling

Gambling is everywhere. Young people walk past betting shops, bill-boards, buy lottery tickets or scratchcards, and see gambling companies sponsoring major sporting events every day. On their mobile phones they have access, not only to traditional betting and casino-style gambling, but also to social games with a gambling element.

While many people – the majority – enjoy gambling as a social activity, for others it can become a terrible addiction; contributing to a mental health condition, creating huge financial pressure and hardship, and in many cases destroying young lives.

At YGAM, we help schools, colleges, universities, and youth organisations educate young people to make smart choices, understand risk and prevent harm. Research into youth gambling (participation, attitudes, thinking, behaviours and harm) is still a new area of work in the UK and to that end there are still a number of ‘known, unknowns’.

YGAM is not a lobbying charity and we do not seek to influence how gambling is regulated in the UK. The icons below show some key statistics of the limited official research available.

Gambling Addiction

In May 2013, gambling was reclassified from a compulsion to full addiction status, yet it is not treated as a public health issue as yet in the UK.

Problem gambling among young people

Rates of problem and at-risk gambling among young people show that 0.6% of 11-15 year olds are classified as problem gamblers and 1.2% being classified as at-risk gamblers. That's 2 in every 100 of their Facebook friends that have the potential to be affected by gambling-related harm.

Children using fruit machines

Great Britain is the only Western democracy that allows children of any age to bet on limited stake (Category D) fruit machines.

Under-16s gambling on facebook

36% of under-16s played an online gambling-style game on Facebook in the last 7 days.

Source: 2015 National Lottery Commissioned Survey

Under 24

A third of all calls to the National Problem Gambling helpline are from those under the age of 24yrs.

Source: 2015 GamCare annual review

143,000 12-24 year olds

The number of young people aged 12-24 years experiencing gambling-related harm.

Source: Gambling Commission

Help and Support

Only 9% of young people experiencing gambling-related harm reach out for help or support.

Source: Gambling Commission

Gambling on smartphones and tablets

64% of under-16s played an online gambling-style game on their smartphone or tablet in the last 7 days.

Source: 2015 National Lottery Commissioned Survey

Common forms of gambling

Fruit machines (6%), private betting (6%) and playing cards with friends (5%) are consistently the most common forms of gambling among young people.

Source: 2015 National Lottery Commissioned Survey

11-15 using scratch cards

5% of 11-15 year olds have spent their own money on a draw-based game (ie. National Lottery) or scratch cards in the past 7 days.

Source: 2015 National Lottery Commissioned Survey

Under-16s gambling

17% of under 16-year-olds spent their own money on a gambling activity in the past 7 days.

Source: 2015 National Lottery Commissioned Survey