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450,000 children gamble in England and Wales every week

Some 450,000 children are gambling in England and Wales every week, with 9,000 likely to be problem gamblers, according to a new report by the Gambling Commission.

The Young People and Gambling Report findings suggest that 16% of 11-15 year olds have gambled in the last week.

In comparison, drinking, smoking and drug taking amongst the same age group seems to be on the decline. Figures say that 5% have smoked and 8% have drunk alcohol in the last week, while 6% have taken drugs in the last month.

The minimum legal age for gambling in the UK is 18 years old. The exceptions to this are the National Lottery and scratchcards – you're allowed to take part in these from the age of 16.

The report says that the most popular forms of gambling continue to be fruit machines, placing a private bet with friends and National Lottery scratchcards.

However, 3% of 11-15 year olds have at some point spent their own money on online gambling, while 6% have gambled using their parents’ accounts, either with or without their permission.

Among 11-15 year olds who have played online gambling-style games, 40% had played within the past week. The most popular were poker (17%), bingo (16%), slot/fruit machines games (15%) and casino-style games (12%).  Poker was most popular with boys and bingo with girls. Of those children who had played these type of games in the past week, 40% of them had gambled for money.

The Gambling Commission executive director, Tim Miller said: ‘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.

‘We recognise that there are some gambling activities in which young people are legally permitted to partake - such as using a crane machine to win a toy, or betting between friends. But we would encourage parents to speak to their children about the risks associated with gambling, so that if they choose to gamble in adulthood, they will do so in a safe and responsible way.’

The survey questioned 2,411 children aged 11-15, from a 103 state secondary and middle schools in England and Wales, from January to April 2016.

Read the whole report.

Read Parent Zone articles on gambling:

Online gambling and young people: a growing concern

Underage online gambling through gaming: what should be done?

‘There’s been a blurring of lines between some social gaming products and gambling’ Tim Miller of the Gambling Commission

Gambling – questions to ask

What is skin gambling?


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