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Gambling Commission publishes new research which explores the gambling journeys and behaviours of young people Published Date: 06/08/2021

The Gambling Commission has published new research which explores the gambling journeys and behaviours of young people and adults aged 16 to 30.

The research, delivered by global insights agency 2CV, was conducted using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, which allowed the Commission to further explore the views of this demographic in their own words and reflecting their own voice.

This research supplements the Commission’s wider research programme to understand the experiences of children, young people and vulnerable adults - with the findings adding a deeper insight to the Commission’s work.

The key findings of the 2CV research show that amongst the research participants:

  • engagement with gambling throughout childhood and early adulthood aligned to a familiar set of life events and milestones, such as family holidays, first jobs and increasing financial independence
  • engaging with gambling or gambling-style activities during childhood was common, but participation was primarily a product of being present or involved with other people’s gambling, rather than proactive underage gambling
  • for some, exposure to the positive and negative extremes of gambling (e.g. witnessing big wins or big losses, or being exposed to very positive or very negative attitudes about gambling) at an early age led to an increased interest in gambling in later life, and in some cases riskier or more harmful gambling behaviour
  • friends and family played a hugely influential role in shaping gambling behaviour, whilst advertising and marketing played a lesser role in influencing young people’s tendency to gamble, acting as a trigger or nudge to play as opposed to the reason to start gambling
  • young people were most vulnerable to experiencing gambling harm after achieving independence from their parents
  • as people grew older gambling behaviour did not stay the same; rather it fluctuated according to personal (and peer) experiences of wins and losses, and alongside changes in lifestyle and responsibility.

The Commission publishes official statistics each year about the gambling behaviour of children and young people aged 11-16 in Great Britain as part of its Young People and Gambling Survey. However, due to the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,  fieldwork for the 2021 survey was postponed.

To continue to advance knowledge about children and young people’s gambling behaviour, they commissioned smaller, alternative pieces of research which utilise a different methodology and do not rely on pupils being in schools.

It is important to note that the findings published are qualitative and quantitative in nature and do not constitute a replacement for the official statistics, which will resume in 2022.

The full findings can be viewed on Commission’s  website under exploring the gambling journeys of young people.