High numbers of young people experimenting with gambling, study shows

Two fifths (41%) of young people aged 11 to 16 report having engaged in gambling in the past year, a study shows.

The analysis from Cardiff University academics, the largest of its kind in the UK, reveals fruit machines at an arcade, pub or club were the most popular form of gambling, followed by playing cards for money with friends and purchasing scratch cards. Placing a private bet among friends and buying lotto tickets were also among the top gambling activities.

Of those who said they had gambled in the past 12 months, 16% said they felt bad as a result. Boys were more frequent gamblers than girls. Young people from minority ethnic groups, and students who felt that they did not belong in their school, were also more likely to engage in gambling and to feel bad about the experience.

Researchers say the results show more needs to be done to raise awareness of the risks of gambling and recommend greater consideration of the responsibilities of industry and government, schools and families in minimising young people's exposure to it.