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UKGC reports drop in underage gambling

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published the 2019 Young People & Gambling survey which looks at gambling trends of 11 to 16 year-olds.

Based on the responses of 2,943 UK 11 to 16 year-olds, the Young People and Gambling Survey 2019 found that 11 per cent had spent their own money on gambling in the seven days prior to the survey, down from 14 per cent in 2018. The long-term trend also shows a decline in participation since the questions were first asked in 2011.

The 11 per cent gambling participation rate over the previous seven days was below the 16 per cent of youths who claim to have tasted alcohol during that period, but higher than those who vaped (7 per cent), smoked cigarettes (6 per cent) or took illegal drugs (5 per cent).

Around 1.7 per cent of youths were deemed to be problem gamblers, unchanged from the 2018 report, while 2.7 per cent were classified as “at-risk” of becoming problem gamblers.

The report, which was carried out by Ipsos MORI, found that young people were most likely to take part in private bets for money (usually with friends) or play cards with friends for money.

“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,” stated Tim Miller, executive director of the UKGC.

In somehow related news, the Children’s Commissioner for England called on the Government to introduce tighter laws to protect children when gaming online after a new report found some youngsters are spending hundreds of pounds on in-game purchases via loot boxes.

“We have been raising awareness about where risks may arise from gambling-style games such as loot boxes and social casino games for some time. Even though we don’t have regulatory control in this area we are actively engaging with the games industry and social media platforms to look at ways to protect children and young people,” explained Miller.

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