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Almost Half Of All Children Aged 11 To 16 Have Gambled Recently

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A new study has found that almost half of all children aged between 11 and 16 have gambled recently.

A study carried out by Cardiff University academics has found that over 40% of children in the UK have gambled within the last 12 months with scratchcards and slot fruit machines at pubs and arcades being the most common methods. The study also discovered that children from ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to gamble than white British children.

The report also revealed that minority ethnic children had admitted to gambling more and had a tendency to feel bad after doing so. What’s more, the research revealed that students who felt less connected to school were also more likely to gamble and were three to four times more likely to feel regret over their actions.

Cardiff University academics stated that their findings suggest that more needs to be done to raise awareness of problem gambling, with the researchers calling on politicians, schools, families and the gambling industry to consider limited children’s exposure to gambling.

The news comes just months after the NHS opened the first-ever gambling clinic for children in London. The National Problem Gambling Clinic now offers specialist help to children and young persons between the ages of 13 and 25 who struggle with gambling addictions.

According to reports, the clinic launched after a study by the UK Gambling Commission estimated that around 50,000 children in the UK experience gambling harm. The launch is also part of the NHS’ expansion for gambling services and was followed by the launch of a gambling clinic in Leeds, the first gambling addiction clinic based outside of London.

What They Say

Professor GJ Melendez-Torres, the report’s lead author, told The Guardian: “Our findings demonstrate the importance of educating young people and parents about the potential harms of gambling and support policy recommendations for schools and the education sector to raise awareness of these issues.”

Graham Moore of the Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement said: “While over the past 20 years or so, lots of adolescent risk behaviours like smoking and drinking alcohol have become less common, we are seeing the emergence of new risk behaviours in today’s society. Our research suggests that gambling might be emerging as a new public health issue.

“The evidence shows that people who gamble earlier in life are more likely to become problem gamblers in adulthood. The fact that there is widespread opportunity to gamble and limited education regarding its risks means that adolescents are particularly vulnerable to its harms. More work needs to be done, with policymakers, schools, families and young people, to understand how young people’s exposure to gambling can be reduced.”

If you feel you or someone you know may be suffering from gambling problems, check out our support page for advice and contact information of services and charities which can help. 

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