Young People and Gambling 2023
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About this statistical release
This publication provides information about young people’s exposure to and involvement in regulated and unregulated forms of gambling, and the prevalence of problem gambling.
The findings presented in this publication are taken from the annual Young People and Gambling Survey, conducted in 2023 by Ipsos on behalf of the Gambling Commission. The study collected data from 3,453 pupils aged 11 to 17 years old across curriculum years 7 to 12 (S1 to S6 in Scotland) using the Ipsos Young People Omnibus. For the first time, pupils from independent schools were also invited to take part in the research alongside pupils attending academies and maintained secondary schools. Pupils completed an online self-report survey in class. Fieldwork took place between February and July 2023.
In contrast to our previous surveys, which have focused on exploring gambling behaviour among 11 to 16 year olds, this year's survey incorporates data gathered from 17 year olds. This is an important development in enhancing our understanding of gambling behaviour among young people and contributes to the ongoing improvement of our evidence base. Nevertheless, in light of this change, any comparisons with data from previous surveys should be interpreted with caution.
Just over one quarter (26 percent) of 11 to 17 year olds had spent their own money on any gambling activity in the twelve months prior to completing the survey. This represents a 5 percentage point decrease in active participation in gambling compared with rates observed in 2022.
The most common types of gambling activity that young people spent their own money on were legal or did not feature age restricted products, namely:
- playing arcade gaming machines such as penny pusher or claw grab machines (19 percent)
- placing a bet for money between friends or family (11 percent)
- playing cards with friends or family for money (5 percent).
One in 5 (19 percent) young people had spent their own money on regulated forms of gambling in the past 12 months reducing to 4 percent when removing ‘arcade gaming machines’ from the definition of regulated forms of gambling.
The youth-adapted problem gambling screen (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition - Multiple Response Juvenile (DSM-IV-MR-J )) identified 0.7 percent of 11 to 17 year olds as problem gamblers and 1.5 percent as at risk gamblers, and 23 percent as non-problem gamblers. Rates of problem and ‘at risk’ gambling have declined since 2022 by 0.2 percentage points, and 0.9 percentage points, respectively.
Over half of young people had seen or heard gambling advertising via online or offline platforms (Online: 53 percent; Offline: 55 percent). This represents a significant decline in exposure to gambling advertisements since last year (2022 findings: Online: 63 percent; Offline: 66 percent). Young people were most likely to report seeing gambling advertising on television (47 percent) or on an app (45 percent).
Most (80 percent) young people who spent their own money gambling in the last 12 months, did so because they regard it as a fun thing to do. Less than one in five (17 percent) agree that gambling makes them feel happy, more (29 percent) disagreed that it made them happy and a similar proportion (28 percent) were unsure either way.
Three in ten (28 percent) young people had seen family members they live with gamble. Of these, 10 percent indicated it had resulted in arguments or tension at home. However, over one in ten (12 percent) said that gambling by a family member had helped to pay for things at home for example holidays, trips or clubs.