The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has released its annual report on youth gambling in the UK, and the results are promising. The 2023 Young People and Gambling Report revealed a decline in teen participation in gambling activities.
The study, which traditionally focused on adolescents aged 11-16, expanded its reach this year to include 17-year-olds. It is based on data from the Ipsos Young People Omnibus, an annual research initiative that covers a wide range of topics, including gambling behaviors among school-aged adolescents.
The report found that 26% of 11-17-year-olds engaged in gambling activities over the past year, a decrease from the 31% reported in 2022. Additionally, the percentage of children allocating funds towards age-restricted gambling products decreased from 5% to 4%.
In terms of problematic gambling behavior, the survey showed positive trends, with only 0.7% of respondents identifying as problem gamblers, down from 0.9% in 2022. The at-risk gambling category also saw a decline from 2.4% to 1.5%.
The data also revealed that 16-year-olds had the highest gambling rate at 26.9%, while 12-year-olds had the highest percentage in the at-risk category at 2.3%. The report also highlighted that a significant portion of the gambling spend by children was directed towards products that currently lack age restrictions in the UK.
In response to these findings, the UKGC has outlined measures to be implemented as part of ongoing white paper discussions on gambling reform. These measures include removing the exemption from age verification test purchasing for small gambling premises and mandating licensees to verify the age of any customer who appears to be under 25 years of age.
The UKGC is engaging in discussions with industry players to bring about these proposed reforms. This includes talks about free bets and bonuses, as well as increasing fines for violations of the bonus rules to ensure that the costs of non-compliance outweigh the costs of compliance.
Overall, the report provides valuable insights into the changing landscape of youth gambling in the UK and underscores the importance of implementing comprehensive measures to address various facets of youth gambling.