Almost 50% of individuals aged 18 to 24 who gamble admit to wagering more money than they could afford to lose, according to recent research findings that have unveiled alarming statistics about young gamblers.
Amongst young adults who engaged in gambling within the previous year, 42% admitted to taking financial risks, while 36% reported borrowing money or selling belongings to make bets.
In additional discoveries, most individuals between the ages of 18-24 who gamble admitted to feeling remorseful about their actions. Additionally, 39% reported experiencing mental health issues in the last year due to their gambling habits. One-third of participants also revealed that they had engaged in sports betting.
New data indicates a decrease in the percentage of young individuals participating in gambling activities. According to the Gambling Commission’s report in March, 28.9% of 16-24 year olds gambled in the previous month, a decrease from 35.8% in the same time frame in 2019. However, recent studies indicate that the worries of young individuals who still gamble are more significant compared to those of older age groups.
The numbers were collected by Ipsos and requested by GambleAware, an organization funded by the industry. They will specifically impact individuals working to address the issue of gambling harm in the UK and increase demands for reform. One of the suggested measures in the government’s Gambling Reform Act was to implement various safeguards for individuals under the age of 25, such as a restriction on the maximum amount of money that can be wagered in online casinos. Despite being significantly postponed, the GRA was not addressed in the king’s speech last month.
GambleAware describes itself as “the leading independent charity and strategic commissioner of gambling harm education”. Last year, the NHS stepped back from a “dual funding” relationship with GambleAware for the National Gambling Treatment Service, citing complaints from patients.
The CEO of GambleAware, Zoë Osmond, has described gambling as “a serious public health issue” and the organisation’s research comes as it seeks to strengthen that idea in the public imagination.
GambleAware is promoting increased communication, urging individuals who have been affected by gambling harm to openly discuss it. According to the survey, 64% of those who have faced gambling issues have never shared their concerns with anyone.
GambleAware also advocate a change in language around gambling harm, encouraging people to “avoid pathologising” those with problems, to avoid words like ‘addict’ or ‘binge’ and to “encourage shared responsibility in looking for solutions”.
Osmond said: “As a hidden addiction, gambling harms can be incredibly hard to spot from the outside. It is therefore critical that people impacted are aware of the wide range of support services available, and that they feel safe to come forward.
“Gambling harms can affect anyone, but the key is to initiate an open and honest discussion, preferably as soon as possible.”