UKGC Publishes 2019 Young People and Gambling Report

Oct 22

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has recently published the 2019 Young People and Gambling survey. This survey takes a look at gambling trends among 11- to 16-year-old in Great Britain. It also looked at the forms of gambling and gambling-style games that young people can legally participate in, as well as gambling on age-restricted products.

Survey findings show that 11% of the respondents say they have spent their own money on gambling products within the past seven days. The result indicates a reduction from 14% in 2018. The long-term trend also shows a steady decline in gambling participation among 11- to 16-year-olds since the survey was first conducted in 2011.

Carried out by Ipsos MORI, the survey also showed that the most common type of gambling activity young people participate in is private bets for money and playing cards with friends for money. The research also showed that 3% of respondents bought National Lottery scratchcards in the past seven days and a further 4% played fruit or slot machines in the past week. Scratchcards are typically bought in a shop, while slot machines are played in family arcades or holiday parks.

UKGC Executive Director Tim Miller said: “This report demonstrates that children and young people’s interaction with gambling or gambling behaviours comes from three sources--gambling that they are legally allowed to participate in, 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,” Miller added. “Where operators have failed to protect children and young people, we have and will continue to take firm action. This year alone, we have tightened rules and requirements around age verification to prevent children and young people from accessing age-restricted products, put free-to-play games behind paywalls, and clamped down on irresponsible products.”

“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,” Miller further said. “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. Protecting children and young people from gambling harms is a collective responsibility and requires us, other regulators, the government, gambling operators, charities, teachers, and parents to work together to make progress.”

Earlier this month, UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur also set ou clear expectations to the gambling industry, emphasizing that he expects operators to use their data to make sure their advertising efforts aren’t targeted at young and vulnerable people. Through the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, the UKGC is also developing a range of education and prevention programmes for the protection of children and young people. These programmes include partnerships with GambleAware and ParentZone, which offer support for parents and guardians who are dealing with issues around gambling and gamble-style games.