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More than a third of teens have gambled in the last year, report finds

Around 39 per cent of British teenagers have spent money on gambling in the last year, according to a report by the Gambling Commission published on Wednesday.

The report, ‘Young People and Gambling 2018’, revealed that the most common forms of underage gambling were betting on slot machines, private bets among friends and National Lottery scratchcards.

The executive director of the Gambling Commission, Tim Miller, said: “Protecting children from the harms that can come from gambling remains one of our highest priorities.

“In the areas we have regulatory control we continue to strengthen the protections in place to prevent underage gambling, such as our recent proposals for enhanced age verification checks for online gambling.”

The report also found that around 31 per cent of 11- to 16-year-olds in Britain have opened loot boxes featured in video games such as Fortnite.

Out of the third of teens who said they had tried it, three per cent admitted to having gambled with in-game items received from loot boxes, so-called ‘skin gambling’. Loot boxes give players access to additional in-game content, such as skins, weapons or currency, and often cost real money.

In June, Parent Zone published a report on skin gambling which estimated that around 450,000 13- to 18-year-olds had gambled with in-game items at least once.

Miller said: “Regulation alone cannot address all of the risks that young people may face from gambling. Our latest research shows that the most common forms of gambling by children do not happen in gambling premises.

“Some of these are legal, such as bets between friends; some of these are unlawful, such as gambling on machines in pubs. But all of them present risks to young people as there is no form of gambling that is risk-free. It is therefore vital; that all those with a part to play in protecting children and young people — parents, businesses and regulators — work together.”

The gambling regulator added that the research had found that parents’ influence played a large part in shaping children’s gambling attitude and behaviour and that only 19 per cent of parents had concrete rules for gambling.

However, around half of the participants in the survey said that either a teacher or parent had spoken to them about the dangers of gambling.

21 November 2018