The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has released its “Young People and Gambling Survey for 2023,” which investigates the gambling behaviors and experiences of young individuals aged 11-17.
Prior to the 2023 survey, a research program was initiated to enhance the collection of official gambling participation statistics. Stakeholders were reminded that the datasets for 2021 and 2020 were not updated due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on young people lives.
The Commission’s previous reports concentrated on the 11-16 age group. The 2023 edition has broadened to include 17-year-olds in year 12 and pupils from independent schools, with the survey engaging 3,453 online participants from England, Scotland, and Wales.
The report provides an overview of young people’s involvement in gambling, noting that around 26% of those aged 11-17 gambled with their own money over the past year. Among these activities, 19% played arcade gaming machines, while 11% bet money with friends and family.
The Commission’s White Paper consultation is considering amendments to its license conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) to require staff to check the age of customers who appear to be under 25, instead of under 21.
Online gambling participation remained consistent with previous years, with 1% of participants stating they spent money on esports betting on websites or apps, or on casino games online.
Overall, there was a 5% decline in gambling participation from the 31% reported in 2022. When arcade games are excluded, only 4% of young people engage in other forms of regulated gambling.
The survey found that 0.7% of 11 to 17-year-olds are problem gamblers, 1.5% are at risk, and 23% are non-problem gamblers. Around three-quarters (74%) did not gamble actively in the last 12 months, which is an increase from the previous figure of 2.4% for at-risk gamblers.
The report also points out a 10% decrease in the number of 11- 17-year-olds who had seen or heard gambling advertisements in the previous 12 months, with 55% and 53% witnessing offline and online ads, respectively, down from 66% and 63% in 2022.
Despite the reduction in advertising engagement, 15% of participants followed a gambling company on social media, most commonly on YouTube (10%), followed by TikTok (9%) and Instagram (7%).
Stakeholders were reminded that the report also assesses the number of young gamblers at risk or of problem gambling undertaken using the DSM-IV-MR-J criteria, to help explore the reasons why young people decide to gamble or abstain, including the contexts and company in which gambling occurs.