There has been a shocking increase in the number of young gamblers. Figures released for November 2018 revealed that 450,000 young people between 11 and 16 years old had gambled in the previous seven days and 55,000 of them were problematic.
Addressing the Children, Young People and Families Voluntary Organisations Forum in Kensington, Rebecca Mark, Education Manager for the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) spoke about how the Gambling Act of 2005 had changed the environment.
Gambling is everywhere and while it can be enjoyed as a social activity for many to others it can become a terrible addiction contributing to mental health conditions, creating huge financial pressure and hardship and in many cases destroying young lives.
Advertising for gambling is all pervasive. For example, there is an automatic connection in the minds of many young people between football and gambling. During one recent match of the day that was monitored, there were 241 appearances of gambling opportunities
Fruit machines tend to be the most popular device used. And yet, the UK is the only country in Europe where there is no age restriction for using fruit machines
The UK Gaming Industry is worth £3,86 billion and 14 per cent of 11 – 16 year olds spend their own money on gambling. There are 1500 gambling apps that can be downloaded onto smart phones and many young people get into the problem through the influence of social media.
In May 2013, gambling was re-classified from a compulsion to full addiction status. Rates of problem and at-risk gambling among young people reveal that 0.6 per cent of 11 – 15 year olds are classified as problem gamblers and 1.2 per cent are considered at risk.
A third of all calls to the National Problem Gambling Helpline are from those under the age of 24 year olds (source 2015 Gamcare Annual Review). And 143,000 young people between 12 and 24 years old experience gambling related harm.
A study revealed that 64 per cent of under 16s played online gambling-style games in the previous seven days on their smartphones or tablets and 17 per cent of under 16s spend their own money. There are clear public health concerns and the risk of involvement in crime to fund the habit.
Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) – delivers accredited training to teachers, youth and community health workers, prison and probation officers and community volunteers. It provides expertise in safer gambling and gaming training. YGAM also offers peer education projects working in partnership with universities to train year two and three students to become peer mentors. The organisation also contributes to vital research work.
Problem Gambling Support
For anyone who is concerned about the time and money they spend or someone they know spends on gambling – a helpline is available seven days a week 08.00 to midnight GamCare 0808 8020 133