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'One in ten UK children aged 13-18 is gambling online'

Parent Zone's latest report, Skin gambling: teenage Britain's secret habit, reveals that one in ten UK children aged 13-18 is gambling online

‘This report has uncovered a phenomenon that is only going to grow. We have an opportunity to step in before this problem spins out of control.

Vicki Shotbolt, Parent Zone CEO

Following an investigation into the growth of skin gambling in young people, Parent Zone has published a report, Skin gambling: teenage Britain’s secret habit, revealing that 1 in 10 UK children aged 13-18 is betting online in casino and bookmaker-style sites.

Skin gambling is a relatively new phenomenon, where gamers are able to bet with virtual items called ‘skins’. Since 2015, gamers have been able to win or trade skins and gamble their collections on competitive video gaming matches, in casino-style sites or on games of chance. Winners can cash in their skins for real currency, and billions of pounds are currently spent in skin gambling sites internationally.

Unlike most regulated online gambling and betting sites, skins gambling sites do not enforce rigorous age verification processes. We set out to explore the scale of under-18s skin gambling, how it is done, and what needs to happen to prevent children from being introduced to gambling via video gaming platforms.

Over 1 in 4 UK children aged 13-18 say skin gambling is a problem

As part of our investigation into skin gambling we carried out an Ipsos MORI survey of over 1000 UK children and discovered that over 1 in 4 UK children aged 13-18 have heard of skin gambling, and believe it is a “big” or “fairly big” problem. 46% said they are able to access 18+ websites if they want.

We also carried out a number of focus groups, speaking to children aged 13-16, to find out more. One 14-year-old said: “I’ve got a friend who tried one of the [skin gambling] websites. He has a huge collection of skins for a game… £1,000 worth. He put £1 on it just to try it out and he wanted to do a bit more cos he lost and wanted to get it back. He lost again and wanted to get his £10 back. He ended up winning £750, but he’s really addicted to it. He’s 15.”

Read Parent Zone’s full report: Skin gambling: teenage Britain’s secret habit