Leading gambling charity GambleAware will today release details of a study into youth gambling, at the organisation’s annual conference.
The study, which was commissioned by the charity and carried out by the Centre for Child Health at Bristol Medical School, focused on the gambling behaviour of young people born in Bristol during the 1990s, across three different age groups ranging from 17 to 24.
The research was based on a 3,500-person sample in each age category and was supported by other data drawn from parental surveys and interviews on the subject of gambling.
Speaking about the survey, the CEO at GambleAware, Marc Etches, said he was concerned about protecting younger people from gambling harm in an era in which access to technology means they can be more easily exposed to gambling products, and he cited figures that showed that one in every eight children aged between 11 and 16 were following gambling operators through social media.
The survey findings will show that young people who gambled on a weekly basis were likely to have developed their gambling habits by 20, and that young men were more likely to be gamblers than young women. The survey also found that over half of 17-year-olds had been involved in gambling during the previous year, while this figure was 68% for 20-year-olds.
In young men, the trend of online gambling was particularly marked. Around 9% of those at age 17 gambled online, but this rose to 35% at 20 and 47% at 24.
Environmental factors such as a family member who gambled regularly can play a significant part in encouraging young people to gamble, while video games and regular social media usage also played a role, according to the survey.
Gamble Aware will recommend that young people needed to be protected from gambling harm through education, treatment and where appropriate, legislative and regulatory action.