New UKGC Report Highlights Concerning Underage Gambling Activity

  • 31% of 11- to 16-year-olds gambled during the past year with their own money
  • About 23% of them gambled on regulated gambling products
  • The report outlined that 0.9% of the age group are problem gamblers and 2.4% are at-risk
  • The UKGC will continue to study the findings and take suitable action
roulette wheel in motion
A new UKGC report shows that 31% of 11- to 16-year-olds took part in some type of gambling during the past year using their own money. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A wide range of gambling options

A recent survey examining underage gambling in the UK has thrown up some concerning talking points. The annual Young People and Gambling report from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), published on Thursday, revealed that 31% of 11- to 16-year-olds took part in some type of gambling during the past year and used their own money to do so.

The most popular types of gambling for this group were either legal or did not carry any age restrictions, including arcade games like claw machines or penny pusher machines, betting with family and friends, and playing card games with money on the line.

23% of underage people were spending money gambling on more tightly regulated options

The report showed that 23% of underage people were spending money gambling on more tightly regulated options like slot machines, esports betting, scratch cards, online betting, and online casino games.

Insights into the underage gamblers

Taking the entire 11- to 16-year-old age group as a whole, the report said about 0.9% of them are categorized as problem gamblers. Another 2.4% are deemed to be at-risk gamblers, with 27% classified as non-problem gamblers.

78% of those surveyed said they gambled because it was enjoyable

Explaining the reasoning behind engaging in some form of real money gambling, 78% of those surveyed said they gambled because it was enjoyable. About 28% pointed toward being influenced by watching family members in their house engaging in gambling, while 7% of people said that they gambled due to tension or arguments in the home. Another 11% said they were motivated after seeing one of their family members using gambling winnings to pay for things like trips and holidays.

UKGC taking its role seriously

Talking about this year’s report, the UKGC stated: “Whilst the headline data around regulated age-restricted products is encouraging, there is clearly a group who still struggle with gambling.”

The Commission will continue to study the findings and act on them as appropriate; the regulator’s key aim is to stop gambling-related harm and to create a safe gambling environment.

A review by the UK government of existing gambling legislation is expected to lead to stricter regulation of gambling operators to help protect gamblers.

Some things the UKGC has already done include taking significant action against any licensees with subpar social responsibility systems, restricting online slot games, banning the use of credit cards for gambling, and putting more of an emphasis on age and identification requirements.