Underage Gambling

A new survey by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) presents good news for British parents. According to the 2019 Young People and Gambling Survey, there is a striking 3% decrease in the number of teenagers engaged in gambling in the UK.

The Ipsos MORI research focused on several different formats of gambling and games that resemble gambling to determine if young people were engaged in such activities. It paid attention to games and gambling products or age-restricted products that allowed younger people to participate legally. The survey suggests that lesser people between the ages of 11 and 16 are participating in legal gambling. About 11% of the surveyed participants gambled in the past week with their own money. Last year, 14% people did the same.

Tim Miller, the executive director of UKGC, commented on the report and the ways in which children and teenagers interact with gambling. He pointed out three primary sources for the same- age-restricted products, gambling-style game wagering and legalized gambling. He also said that the survey only covers legal gambling or gaming products. The number of children exposed to illegal forms of gambling can still not be highlighted. He also said that the UKGC must work to ensure that minors stay away from age-restricted products.

He added that minors experiencing gambling-related harm are a cause of concern for the commission and it is committed to helping protect them as well.

The report suggests that minors often get started on gambling with private bets placed alongside their friends. At least 5% of the surveyed participants admitted that they got started with gambling like this. Another 3% said that their gambling habits began by playing cards with friends for money. More importantly, 69% of the survey participants said that they have heard or seen gambling advertisements or known about a sponsorship deal. Interestingly, 83% of the participants believe that learning about sponsorship deals doesn’t convince them to gamble.

The UKGC is also buckling up against gambling-style gaming features like loot boxes. It is raising awareness about the harms of gambling, working with the gaming industry and even social media platforms to provide adequate protections to a younger audience.

Note that bars in the UK are at the center of an underage gambling controversy. About 84% of these bars failed to prevent minors from gambling on fruit machines. Now the UKGC is urging bars to ensure that young people don’t get to gamble on their premises.

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