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Underage online gambling through gaming: what should be done?

Following on from our article about Online Gambling and Young People, Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones and Dr Wiktor Kulik of the National Problem Gambling Clinic talk about the problem and what the government and parents can do about it

How wide a problem is underage online gambling in the UK?

‘Most of the more traditional forms of gambling are restricted to people over 18 and this makes it difficult for children to access it, however we are aware of cases in which children have obtained their parents’ credit cards and have accessed online gambling websites.’

What can the government do to combat the problem?

‘The Government already places restrictions in relation to age and gambling, however this is increasingly more difficult to restrict online, especially if you consider the inability of the governments to control the dark web and alternative currencies like bitcoin.

‘There are ongoing projects and studies investigating the prevalence of online gambling amongst the UK teenage population. Some of these studies have been funded with Government funds as well as other sources (see Prof. David Forrest's work).

What would you like to see done?

‘Ongoing work on identifying young people at risk of developing future gambling problems. A designated treatment centre at national level replicating the work we are doing with adults, but specifically for young people.’

What advice would you give to parents on spotting the signs that their child is gambling online?

‘It would help if parents could talk to the child to try and understand if there is a problem by direct questioning. Do not be afraid to ask, it might be easier for the child to admit to it.

‘Closer monitoring of the online activity should also allow parents to understand it better. This should be a parental duty.

‘Limiting access to money, especially credit cards can also help in reducing the gambling opportunity.’

Find out more

Online gambling and young people: a growing concern click here.

What is skin gambling and why is it so popular? Click here.

Check out our gambling glossary here.

BigDeal is a gambling information and advice site aimed at young people:


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