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Statistics and research release

Young People and Gambling 2019: Official statistics

The findings are taken from the annual Young People and Gambling Survey, conducted in 2019 by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the Gambling Commission.

Official statistics


About this statistical release

This publication provides information about young people’s participation in different types of gambling and the prevalence of problem gambling. It includes statistics about those forms of gambling that children and young people can legally take part in along with gambling on age restricted products.

The findings are taken from the annual Young People and Gambling Survey, conducted in 2019 by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Gambling Commission.

These results are based on a sample of 2,943 pupils aged 11- 16 across curriculum years 7-11 (S1 – S5 in Scotland) using the Ipsos MORI Young People Omnibus.

A total of 606 schools were selected, at random, from a sample frame of all Academies and Maintained secondary schools across Great Britain. 124 schools agreed to take part, giving a school response rate of 21%.

Within each of these schools, one curriculum year group was selected, at random, and, within this year group, one class (two in four schools) was randomly selected and the pupils within this class asked to take part in an online self-completion survey.

We have also published a press release on this matter.

Key facts

  • 11% of 11-16 year olds say they spent their own money on gambling activities in the seven days prior to taking part in the survey. This is down from 14% in 2018.
  • 5% of 11-16 year olds say they have placed a private bet for money (e.g. with friends) in the past seven days, with a further 3% playing cards for money with friends in the past seven days.
  • 4% of 11-16 year olds report playing on fruit or slot machines in the past seven days.
  • 3% of 11- 16 year olds say they have played National Lottery scratchcards and 2% say they have played the Lotto (the main National Lottery) draw in the past seven days.
  • Young people who say they have gambled in the past seven days spent an average of £17 on gambling during this period.
  • Over the past 12 months, 36% of 11-16 year olds say they have spent their money on gambling, down from 39% in 2018.
  • 7% claimed to have gambled online ever.
  • 5% of 11-16 year olds say they have played National Lottery games online, and/or other gambling websites using their parents account, with their permission.
  • 12% of 11-16 year olds say they have played an online gambling-style game. 47% of those who played an online gambling-style game, did so through an app.
  • 69% 11-16 year olds say they have seen or heard gambling adverts or sponsorship with 83% of that those saying that it had not prompted them to gamble.
  • 11% of 11 -16 year olds say they have ever received direct marketing from companies about gambling.
  • 52% of young people say they have heard of in game items, of which 44% who say they have paid money to open loot boxes to get other in game items within the game they were playing, and 6% said that they have bet with in-game items either with friends or through unlicensed third party sites (so called ‘skins’ gambling).
  • Of those that have paid for money to open loot boxes/crates/packs and remember where they got the money from 49% spent money that they received for birthday or Christmas presents, with 34% saying the money was given to them by parents/relatives to specifically buy loot boxes/crates/packs.
  • 1.7% of 11-16 year olds are classified as ‘problem’ gamblers, 2.7% as ‘at risk, using the DSM-IV-MR-J-screen. In 2018, 1.7% of 11-16 year olds were classified as ‘problem gamblers’ and 2.2% were classified as ‘at risk’. The 2019 results do not represent a significant increase over time.
  • 60% feel well informed about the risks of gambling and 59% agree that gambling is dangerous and only 7% agree that it is OK for someone their age to gamble once a week.
  • 50% of respondents said that someone had spoken to them about the problems that gambling can lead to, with the conversation typically taking place with a parent (34%) or teacher (19%).
  • 23% of 11-16 year olds say that their parents do set rules about gambling, with 20% saying parents/guardians don’t set rules about gambling.
  • 74% of 11-16 year olds say they know who they would go to for help if they had problems with gambling.
  • 11% of 11 -16 years olds say they have gambled in the past seven days. This is compared to 16% who said they had drunk an alcoholic drink in the past week, 7% who had used an e-cigarette, 6% who had smoked a tobacco cigarette and 5% who had taken illegal drugs (including cannabis).



Gambling participation: This is the number of 11-16 year olds who have gambled in the last seven days. This includes illegal types of gambling and legal types of gambling such as private bets for money, playing cards for money with friends or 16 year olds playing the National Lottery.

Problem gambling: The DSM-IV-MR-J1 screen has been applied to the Young People and Gambling Survey dataset to assess whether respondents who gamble are problem, at-risk or non-problem gamblers.

Who is this publication for?

The data in this publication may be of interest to members of the public, policy officials, academics, gambling charities or those working within the gambling industry. The statistics are used by the Gambling Commission and within Government for a wide variety of purposes.

Some of the main uses include:

  • understanding how many children and young people are participating in gambling and the types of gambling they are taking part in
  • measuring what proportion of young gamblers are classified as at risk or problem gamblers according to the DSM-IV-MR-J screener1
  • understanding why young people choose to gamble, and when they gamble where they are and who they are with. Conversely also understanding why young people choose not to gamble.

Get in contact

If you require historical data you can contact us.


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.

Data and downloads



We are always keen to hear how these statistics are used and would welcome your views on this publication.

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