Nearly one per cent of 11-16 years olds in the UK are problem gamblers and the problems surrounding so called skin betting are increasing according to a report out today.

The Gambling Commission’s annual report shows that new technology is providing children with opportunities to experience gambling behaviours through products, such as free-to-play casino games, social media or within some computer games, which do not have the same level of protections or responsible gambling messages as regulated gambling products.

The report also shows that the most common forms of gambling amongst children – bets between friends, playing fruit machines in pubs and clubs, and buying National Lottery scratchcards ,are happening in locations that do not need to be regulated to provide gambling.

The report found that 12 per cent of 11-16 year olds spent their own money on gambling in the past week which compares to 16% who had drunk alcohol 5% smoked cigarettes and 3% who had used drugs.

11 per cent of 11-16 year olds have played free gambling-style social games online and 11 per cent of 11-16 year olds have bet with in-game items when playing computer or app-based games

Tim Miller, Gambling Commission Executive Director said “We require gambling operators to have strong protections in place to prevent children from accessing their products and are actively reviewing how some, like age verification, can continue to be strengthened.

“However, it is clear that many children’s experiences of gambling-style activities are coming from the playground, the games console or social media rather than the bookmaker, the casino or the gambling website. That’s why it is essential that we work across industries and with parents so that together we can protect children and encourage those that choose to gamble in adulthood to do so safely.”

Tom Watson MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport,responding to the Gambling Commission’s ‘Young People and Gambling 2017 Survey’, said:

“This new research from the gambling commission shows that there are still far too many young people gambling in Britain today.

“It is worrying that children continue to be bombarded with adverts promoting gambling through TV, online and via social media. 80 per cent of young people say they see gambling adverts on TV each week.

“The rise of ‘skins’ gambling and other forms of gambling online or in games which encourage children to trade-in cosmetic online items for cash, only serve to demonstrate that our gambling laws are woefully out of date.


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