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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.


Research design

Trend data

Since 2011, the Gambling Commission and Ipsos have conducted an annual survey into the gambling behaviours of young people aged 11 to 16 years old in Great Britain. In 2023, we extended this to include 17 year olds. This report delivers the results from the 2023 survey, which explores young people’s current rates of participation in gambling.


The Young People Omnibus (YPO) survey aims to represent pupils in curriculum years 7 to 12 (S1 to S6 in Scotland).

The survey invites pupils to take part who are attending academies (public funded schools held accountable through a legally binding ‘funding agreement’ in England) and maintained (overseen, or ‘maintained’ by the Local Authority) secondary and middle-deemed secondary schools in England, Wales and Scotland. The 2023 survey also invited independent schools (schools who charge fees to attend instead of being funded by the government and do not have to follow the national curriculum) to participate.

To enable this a three-stage sampling process was used:

  1. In England and Wales, a sample of schools was selected from Department for Education’s ‘Get Information About Schools’ database (a comprehensive listing of secondary schools in England and Wales). Special schools were excluded. The sample frame was stratified by Government Office Region (GOR), and, within each stratum, schools were selected proportional to the number of pupils attending the school. In England and Wales, 617 schools were selected to participate in the survey. In Scotland, a sample of 37 schools was selected from the Scottish Government’s school contacts database. The sample was stratified by local authority and school size. Therefore, across all three regions, 654 schools were selected to participate in the survey.
  2. Two curriculum year groups (between Year 7 and Year 12 for England and Wales and between S1 and S6 in Scotland) were selected at random for each school.
  3. In each specified curriculum year group, schools were asked to nominate one mixed ability class to take part. Schools were also given the opportunity to provide additional classes and year groups. All members of the randomly selected class group were selected to fill out the self-completion survey.

Recruiting schools

To maintain comparability, the sampling of schools has remained consistent year on year. However, in 2023 Year 12 pupils and independent schools were included for the first time. The way in which schools are recruited has evolved to respond to technological developments and most recently in respect to the demands that were placed on schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advance packs

All schools in the main sample for England and Wales received an invitation pack across February and March. The pack included a letter informing them about the survey, a leaflet containing more information on how the data is used and contact details for the Ipsos Young People Omnibus team. The packs are addressed to a named head teacher.

In Scotland, the first step was to send a letter to local authorities which contain schools in the sample frame. Local authorities were informed about the survey and given the option to opt out of the research, on behalf of schools in their area. In total 23 Scottish local authorities were contacted, and 10 opted out of the survey. Selected schools in the remaining 13 local authorities were then sent the invitation letter and information sheet.

Contacting schools

Schools’ recruitment at Ipsos is managed by a team of experienced recruiters. In mid-February, the Ipsos Young People Omnibus research team conducted a briefing via teams to inform recruiters about the survey content, update them of any changes, and share ideas and tips for encouraging participation.

Recruiters were allocated sample in batches, which contains a mix of regions (to avoid bias). The sample included contact details for the school. Where possible, recruiters sought to enrich this by looking at the school website to try and obtain a named contact or direct email address.

Recruiters made contact with all schools in their sample to a) gain headteacher consent for the school to participate, b) collect contact details for a liaison person within the school (usually the teacher for a selected class), c) select one class from each nominated curriculum year group for the school, and d) arrange a time and date when each class will take part in the online survey.

Recruiters managed this process by using an electronic booking system, which the research team also access to monitor the response rate.

Over the years incentives have become an essential addition to protecting the response rate, particularly in London. They also help encourage schools to choose to participate in the Young People Omnibus over other surveys, which offer cash incentives. In 2023, all schools participating in the Young People Omnibus were offered a £100 cash incentive. As fieldwork progressed, to encourage participation, this incentive was doubled to £200. Schools were also given a teaching pack, containing free data and example exercises to use in their classes, and an infographic A3 poster highlighting key findings from YPO surveys to display in class.

Once a school agreed to participate, a confirmation email was sent, providing schools with their individual online survey link, a template for letters to parents and further information to administer the survey.

Fieldwork for the study was conducted from February to July 2023.

Response rate

In total, from a sample frame of 654 schools in England, Scotland and Wales, 69 took part in the 2023 YPO survey, giving a school response rate of 11 percent.

Overall, 3,453 pupils aged 11 to 17 years old from 105 class groups completed the survey online: an average of 33 pupils per class.

The school response rate has decreased gradually year-on-year. In 2022, the survey was particularly low as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and specifically the omicron wave which affected schools after Christmas 2021. The effects of this were still felt in 2023 and number of schools recruited continued to be low.

The following table provides details of the number of telephone calls recruiters made to individual schools:

Table A.2: Number of telephone calls for purposes of school recruitment

Table A.2: Number of telephone calls for purposes of school recruitment.
Number of calls made Number of schools
Under 5 10
5 to 10 36
Over 10 19

Of the schools who did refuse to take part, the most common reason given was that they were too busy to be part of the survey – citing reasons such as demands from other school surveys, disruption of teaching, and high teacher workload.


Data are weighted by gender, age and region. The weights were derived from data supplied by the following sources:

The effect of weighting is shown in the sample profile section of the Appendices.

Statistical reliability

The respondents to the questionnaire are only samples of the total population, so we cannot be certain that the figures obtained are exactly those we would have if everybody had been interviewed (the true values). We can, however, predict the variation between the sample results and the true values from knowledge of the size of the samples on which the results are based and the number of times that a particular answer is given. The confidence with which we can make this prediction is usually chosen to be 95 percent - that is, the chances are 95 in 100 that the true value will fall within a specified range. Table A.3 illustrates the predicted ranges for different sample sizes and percentage results at the 95 percent confidence interval.

Table A.3: Approximate sampling tolerances by sample size

Table A.3: Approximate sampling tolerances by sample size.
Size of sample on which survey results is based Approximate sampling tolerances applicable to percentages at or near these levels
10 or 90 percent 30 or 70 percent 50 percent
Plus or minus Plus or minus Plus or minus
100 interviews 6 9 10
500 interviews 3 4 4
1,000 interviews 2 3 3
2,599 interviews (Young People Omnibus respondents, 2022) 1 2 2

For example, with a sample of 3,453 where 30 percent give a particular answer, the chances are 95 in 100 that the 'true' value (which would have been obtained if the whole population had been interviewed) will fall within the range of plus or minus 2 percentage points from the sample result.

Strictly speaking the tolerances shown here apply only to random samples, although they offer an approximation for the complex design used by the current study.

When results are compared between separate groups within a sample, different results may be obtained. The difference may be 'real', or it may occur by chance (because not everyone in the population has been interviewed). To test if the difference is a real one - that is, if it is 'statistically significant', we again have to know the size of the samples, the percentage giving a certain answer and the degree of confidence chosen. If we assume the '95 percent confidence interval', the differences between the two sample results must be greater than the values given in the Table A.4.

Table A.4: Differences required for significance

Table A.4: Differences required for significance.
Size of sample compared Differences required for significance at or near these percentage levels
10 or 90 percent 30 or 70 percent 50 percent
Plus or minus Plus or minus Plus or minus
100 and 100 8 13 14
250 and 100 7 11 12
500 and 250 5 7 8
500 and 500 4 6 6
1,000 and 500 3 5 5
1,000 and 1,000 3 4 4
1,500 and 1,000 2 4 4
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Sample profile
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