The Gambling Commission in Great Britain has recently released their annual Young People and Gambling survey for 2023, showing a significant decrease in the exposure of young people to gambling adverts. The research indicates a 10 percentage point drop among 11- to 17-year-olds who had seen or heard advertisements in the previous 12 months, with 55% and 53% seeing offline and online ads respectively, compared to 66% and 63% in 2022.

The survey, which included 3,000 young people, also revealed a reduction in the number of young people who had spent their own money on gambling activities in the past year. 26% of respondents had engaged in gambling activities, a five percentage point decrease from the previous year’s 31%.

The most common types of gambling activities that young people spent their own money on were legal or did not feature age-restricted products, such as arcade gaming machines, placing bets with friends or family, and playing cards. While a small percentage engaged in regulated gambling, the overall numbers were lower than in 2022, with only 1.5% of respondents identified as at-risk gamblers compared to 2.4% in the previous year.

The majority of young people who spent their own money on gambling did so because they considered it a fun activity, with less than 20% stating that gambling made them feel happy.

The Gambling Commission emphasized the importance of gambling operators having strong protections in place to prevent children from accessing products illegally. They also highlighted the potential impact of the Gambling Act Review white paper, which proposes measures to remove the exemption of age verification for the smallest gambling premises and to strengthen age checks for customers who appear to be under 25.

As the Commission continues to prioritize the protection of children and young people from gambling-related harm, they are working to implement relevant proposals by the government. The research was conducted in schools, with students completing online self-completion surveys, and included data from 11- to 16-year-olds as well as 17-year-olds for the first time.

Tim Miller, executive director of research and policy at the GB Gambling Commission, outlined plans for the next set of Gambling Act Review white paper consultations, which will focus on bonuses and free bets to ensure they are socially responsible.

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