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Children Beware

The annual publication of the U.K. Gambling Commission, “Young People and Gambling,” is always a challenge to produce. In the words of the report itself, “Gambling is a tricky subject to research, especially among 11- to 16-year-olds whose understanding of what is and isn’t gambling, and experience of gambling, varies widely,” adding, “We also cover some sensitive topics in the survey, including questions which are used to identify young people who may be experiencing difficulties with their gambling.”

The research was conducted in schools, with pupils completing online self-completion surveys in class. The study collected data from a sample of 2,559 11- to 16-year-olds attending academies and maintained schools in England, Scotland and Wales. The surveys were completed between March and July 2022.

Despite the commission’s reservations, there were quite a few interesting results in the report. The headline was that 31 percent of those surveyed reported gambling on something in the previous 12 months in a variety of different manners (see chart at right).

But there was also substantial reports of playing in a legal setting where there was no age restrictions, including:

  • playing arcade gaming machines such as penny pusher or claw grab machines (22 percent);
  • placing a bet for money between friends or family (15 percent); and,
  • playing cards with friends or family for money (5 percent).

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