Gambling attitudes developed by the age of 20

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A recent study by Bristol University has shown that young people develop regular gambling habits by the age of 20. The research was commissioned by the gambling commission and looked at how people gamble at the age of 17, 20, and 24. It found some very interesting results and trends happening especially below the age of 18.

As you know sports betting and casinos are illegal until you are over 18 but the lottery allows players from the age of 16 to purchase tickets and scratch cards. There have been some recent calls to change the legal age of playing the lottery to 18. Here at betting apps, we believe that it should be 18 to play the lottery and more importantly buy scratch cards.

The report found that 54% of 17-year-olds said they had gambled in the last 12 months. This was mostly gambling on the lottery or gambling with their friends, both of which is legal at that age. Only 9% of 17-year-olds said they had gambled online in the last 12 months. This then spikes to 35% of 20-year-olds who have bet in the last 12 months. The higher stats are predominantly young men in the 20-year-old group.

Percentage of online gambling per age range (Males)

  • 17 years old 9%
  • 20 years old 35%
  • 24 years old 47%

There is a clear trend that amongst men gambling becomes more of a norm in their early 20s with almost 1 in 2 men gambling. The stats for females are remarkably different.

Percentage of online gambling per age range (Female)

  • 17 years old 0.4%
  • 20 years old 8%
  • 24 years old 11%

While the trend is still an increasing one with females it gambling is nowhere near as popular with women than men.

Some key trends were found amongst the male’s gamblers which made them socially more likely to bet

  • If their parents gambled
  • If they were heavy social media users
  • If they had played video games regularly when younger

The research was about gambling in “children of the 903” to see how we can better identify and help problem gamblers in the UK.

Head of the study, Alan Emond, Emeritus Professor of Child Health at the Centre for Academic Child Health at Bristol Medical School’s Population Health Sciences department said

“The unique features of the Children of the 90s gambling study are that the parent’s gambling was measured before the young people’s gambling, and the young people were asked about their gambling activity three times in the transition period from adolescence into young adulthood,” Emond explained.

“Although many young people gambled without any harm, a small minority (six to seven percent) of males showed problem gambling behaviours associated with poor mental health and wellbeing, involvement in crime, and potentially harmful use of drugs and alcohol,” he continued.

“To protect these vulnerable young people from gambling harm requires a combination of education, legislation, and appropriate treatment services.”

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