GamCare data reveals online gambling is a risk for under 18s

  • Updated
  • By Max Wright
GamCare under 18s gambling survey
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A survey conducted by problem gambling charity, GamCare into the under-18s using their services has revealed some interesting and worrying stats.

GamCare offers support and information for people who are worried about their own gambling habits, or the problem gambling of a friend or family member. This means that the person contacting GamCare isn’t necessarily the person at risk.

However, since 2017, 71% of the under-18s that contacted the service were doing so because they were concerned about their own gambling habits.  In the past year alone, over 350 under-18s have contacted GamCare.

Of course, the National Lottery (including scratch cards) can be played by people as young as 16; however of those people affected, 77% of them cited online gambling as the source of their habit. 

One source specified as a particular area of risk is eSports skin betting, which is where young people use in-game currencies and commodities to bet on the results of competitive video games, with no real money changing hands. The UK Gambling Commission doesn't believe that activities like this should be considered gambling, and therefore does not step in to regulate.

Whilst this gambling-adjacent activity doesn’t necessarily mean children will go on to start gambling, as there’s not enough evidence to suggest this correlation yet, these young people are clearly worried enough about the effects this habit can have on them to contact GamCare.

As Online Bingo learned from our interview with Paul Pettigrew of GamTalk, gambling addiction can be fuelled by a lack of education, which allows habits to grow when people are first introduced to it in University. Clearly, GamCare agrees as they have also called for mandatory gambling education in UK schools.

GamCare has responded to this information by launching a website called BigDeal, where young people can go for information and support in a space designed to help them.