Underage Gambling: A Big Concern for UK Gambling Regulators

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is concerned about the rising incidents of underage gambling in the country. The regulator published a report on the in October 2019 to highlight underage gambling in Wales, Scotland, and England. The study was conducted by Ipsos MORI which revealed that 1.7% of children between 11 and 16 years of age are addicted to gambling.

The annual survey was conducted on 2,934 children from 124 schools between the ages of 11 and 16 years. About 2.7% of British kids are at the risk of gambling addictions, marking a 0.5% increase from 2018. About 11% of kids suggested that they use their own money for gambling in the seven days prior to the survey.

Private bets for money were popular amongst children, followed by playing cards for money. Fruit machines or slot machines are also very popular. Even the National Lottery scratch cards reach the young people of Britain. At least 2% of the surveyed children said that they participated in the Lotto in the seven days preceding the survey.

The growth of online gambling is the biggest concern for the regulators. Though they have enforced several changes to change player interaction at online gambling websites, some loopholes remain unpatched. The Young People and Gambling report suggest that 7% of children participate in online gambling.

The problems with gambling addiction are growing in Britain. The National Health Service (NHS) recently revealed that 379 were admitted to a medical facility because of their problem gambling issues. They suggest a 28% rise in the number of hospitalizations occurring directly because of pathological gambling addictions as compared to 2015/16.

The UKGC hasn’t revealed its plans to tackle problem gambling among children in 2020 yet, but we expect stricter regulations on online gambling sites this year.

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