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National study shows one in 10 kids are gambling with their money — how can you be part of a solution?

Published: December 21, 2020

According to a 2020 Gambling Commission report, one in 10 children admitted to gambling with their money, and more than a third have gambled in the past year. Additionally, based on screening questions, close to 2% of 11-16 year-olds would be considered problem gamblers.

The commission’s report was based on a study of 1,645 students in England and Scotland before schools shut in March due to the pandemic. Last year’s report found that 55,000 children in the UK were problem gamblers, and 85,000 were at risk of developing an addiction. The 2019 study also found that 350,000 children had gambled their own money in the past week, betting an average of £17 (or $22).

With this health consequence for young people on the rise, how can we be a part of the solution?

  1. Get educated and know the warning signs. Have your child’s grades suddenly dropped, or assignments not completed? Do they have an increased interest in money and the value of possessions? Do they become more secretive or aggressive? These might be signs of a gambling problem.
  2. Identify gambling activities. Many times, gambling starts as an innocent past-time. Friendly card games with peers, lottery tickets as gifts, or making bets on school sports and events are all gambling activities that kids can naively take part in without proper education.
  3. See who’s at risk and potential consequences. No age group is immune to problem gambling. Gambling-inspired gaming apps are marketed toward children as young as two, and for all ages, the opportunities to bet are endless. Potential consequences from gambling include losing money kids need for school materials or meals, an increased risk for delinquency and substance use, and neglecting studies or jobs.
  4. Take a role in prevention. You can make a difference. Establish limits and set controls on devices that regulate game time with your kids, talk to them about gambling, and set controls on devices to prohibit micro-transactions.

Together, we can put an end to youth gambling. For more information on how you can be a part of the solution, visit

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