UKGC calls for action to protect minors from gambling

UKGC calls for action to protect minors from gambling

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 Posted by News Team
Regulator urges parents and companies to take more active role in educating young people

The UK Gambling Commission has warned that not enough is being done to protect children from the harmful effects of gambling, after revealing a rise in the number of individuals aged between 11 and 16 with a gambling problem. 

The regulator’s  2018 Young People and Gambling Report warned that the forms of gambling preferred by the demographic tended to be either legal our outwith its remit, meaning parents and businesses had to do more to educate children about gambling.

A survey of 2,865 individuals aged between 11 and 16 years old conducted as part of the report found that 39% of respondents claimed to have gambled using their own money in the past year.

This did not necessarily mean children were gambling online or in betting shops. The report revealed that 6% of those surveyed made bets with friends; 4% bought National Lottery scratch cards and 3% played fruit machines in pubs. 

Around 14% said they had gambled in the past week, which would suggest as many as 450,000 UK children were gambling in some form. This also suggested that more children gamble than drank alcohol (13% of respondents); smoke (4%) or take illegal drugs (2%). 

The survey found that loot boxes, already a contentious issue with a number of regulators for similarities to gambling, were particularly popular. In total 31% of respondents said they had opened loot boxes, where the individual pays for a randomly-assigned item without knowing what they will ultimately get, while 3% said they had used in-game items to bet, known as skin gambling.

Of all surveyed, using the DSM-IV-MR-J problem gambling standard to assess an individual’s gambling habits, 1.7% could be classed as problem gamblers. A further 2.2% were considered at risk of developing problems. 

UKGC executive director Tim Miller said that while efforts were being made to prevent minors from accessing regulated gambling products, efforts had to be made by parents to inform their children about gambling, and its potential risks.

Just 19% of respondents said their parents had set rules to limit how they gambled. 

“Regulation alone cannot address all of the risks that young people may face from gambling. It is therefore vital that all those with a part to play in protecting children and young people - parents, businesses and regulators - work together,” Miller explained.

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