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Young People and Gambling 2023

Gambling Commission report produced by Ipsos on young people and their gambling behaviour, attitudes and awareness in 2023.


Applying the DSM-IV-MR-J problem gambler screen

The DSM-IV-MR-J (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition - Multiple Response Juvenile) screen is applied to assess whether respondents who gamble are defined as experiencing problems with their gambling. In the adolescent gambling field, this is one of the most widely used instruments to assess experience of problem gambling among this age group1.

A two-step eligibility criteria were used in applying the DSM-IV-MR-J screen. Firstly, respondents had to indicate that they had spent their own money on at least one gambling activity on at least one occasion in the last 12 months to answer all of nine components of the problem gambling screener. A full list of gambling activities can be found in Table A.1. Secondly, young people who answered ‘prefer not to say’ throughout the gambling screen were excluded.

In total 890 individuals qualified for the gambling screen.

Points were then awarded to each respondent based on the answers they gave to the nine components (or questions) which are used to define typologies of gamblers, as set out in Table A.1.

The screen questions use frequency scales of ‘Never’, ‘Once or twice’, ‘Sometimes’ or ‘Often’. Each respondent scores a point for each of the nine criteria that they met. If the respondent has undertaken four or more of the behaviours and/or actions, they receive a score of four or more and they are classified as a ‘problem gambler’. A score of two or three points identifies respondents as ‘at-risk gamblers’ and a score of zero or one indicates a ‘non-problem gambler’.

Table A.1 indicates how the questions asked in 2023 mapped onto the DSM-IV-MR-J problem gambling screen components and the percentage of young people who gave the required answers to each question when the scoring system was applied to the data.

Table A.1: Problem and non-problem gambler criteria from the DSM-IV-MR-J screen

Table A.1: Problem and non-problem gambler criteria from the DSM-IV-MR-J screen.
2023 question name DSM-IV criteria Question wording: ‘In the past 12 months …’ If any of the following answer criteria are ticked, that qualifies as 1 point Young people scoring
Percentage Number of participants
GC_PREOCC Pre-occupation How often have you found yourself thinking about gambling or planning to gamble ‘Often’ 0.7% (23)
GC_ESCAPE Escape How often have you gambled to help you escape from problems or when you are feeling bad ‘Sometimes’ or ‘often’ 1.1% (38)
GC_WITHD Withdrawal Have you felt bad or fed up when trying to cut down on gambling ‘Sometimes’ or ‘often’ 0.9% (31)
GC_TOLERNCE Tolerance Have you needed to gamble with more and more money to get the amount of excitement you want ‘Sometimes’ or ‘often’ 1.5% (52)
GC_LOSSCON Loss of control Have you ever spent much more than you planned to on gambling ‘Sometimes’ or ‘often’ 1.4% (50)
GC_TAKEN MONEY Taken money Have you ever taken money from any of the following without permission to spend on gambling: dinner money or fare money, money from family, money from things you’ve sold, money from outside the family, somewhere else If any one or more of these options are ticked, then qualifies for one point in total 1.4% (47)
GC_LEDRISKED Risked relationships Has your gambling ever led to the following: a) arguments with family or friends or others, c) missing school If any of the following are ticked, then qualifies for one point in total: ‘once or twice’, ‘sometimes’ or ‘often’ 1.3%, 0.5% (46), (17)
GC_LEDLYING Lying Has your gambling ever led to the following: b) Telling lies to family or friends or others ‘Once or twice’ ‘sometimes’ or ‘often’ 1.2% (37)
GC_CHASING Chasing After losing money by gambling, have you returned another day to try to win back the money you lost ‘More than half the time’ or ‘every time’ 0.8% (28)

Small base sizes mean that these findings should be viewed with caution, they also prevent sub-group analysis of the young people defined under each component.

All percentages are shown based on the full sample of 3,453 11 to 17 year olds.


1 Fisher, S (2000). Developing the DSM-IV Criteria to Identify Adolescent Problem Gambling in Non-Clinical Populations, Journal of Gambling Studies Volume 16 No. 2/3.

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