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Survey finds a third of young people gamble with their own money

24 October 2019

Today the Gambling Commission published its 2019 Young People & Gambling survey, which examines the gambling trends of 11-16-year-olds in Great Britain.

The survey, carried out by Ipsos MORI, looks at the forms of gambling that young people partake in legally, alongside gambling on products that are age restricted.

The results of the survey revealed that over a 12-month period, 36% of young people aged 11-16 have spent their money on gambling. Those who had gambled in the last week spent an average of £17.

The report also showed that bets with friends, scratchcards and slot machines were the most popular forms of betting for young people.

Online gambling still prevalent

Online gambling continues to be a particular problem amongst young people. The survey revealed that 12% have played an online gambling-style game, and 47% of those did so through an app.

A particular concern is in-game gambling, where a user has to pay to open loot boxes or to get other in-game items. 52% of those surveyed said they had heard of in-game items, and 44% of those said they had paid money to get them. 49% used money they received for birthday or Christmas presents, and 34% said the money was specifically given to them to buy in-game items.

Work of the Gambling Commission

The survey further revealed that 41% of young people do not believe gambling is dangerous. The Gambling Commission have stated they are developing education and prevention programmes, partnering with GambleAware, to help increase awareness and protect young and vulnerable people from the harms of gambling.

Tim Miller, Executive Director of the Gambling Commission, commented on the survey results:

“This report demonstrates that children and young people’s interaction with gambling or gambling behaviours comes from three sources – gambling on age restricted products and gambling style games. Any child or young person that experiences harm from these areas is a concern to us and we are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to protect them from gambling harms.

“Most of the gambling covered by this report takes place in ways which the law permits, but we must keep working to prevent children and young people from having access to age restricted products. Where operators have failed to protect children and young people we have and will continue to take firm action.”

An increasing problem

A report last year revealed that the number of child gamblers had quadrupled in just two years. Gambling Commission figures say 450,000 children aged 11-16 bet on a regular basis, while 55,000 children were classed as problem gamblers.

CARE is particularly concerned about the increasing numbers of young people gambling online, and is calling for better age-verification tools on gambling websites and for more regulation of the online gaming industry.

Find out more about our work on gambling.



While for some, gambling is just harmless fun, for a significant minority it causes genuine devastation. Our vision is to see laws passed that will help protect vulnerable problem gamblers.

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