In light of a new report stating that 450,000 children in England and Wales are gambling every week, the Gambling Commission has announced new plans to defend children against the dangers of gambling and regulate potentially illegal gambling venues targeting the youth. This plan will build on existing work and include the growing economy of online gambling.
The Young People and Gambling report indicated that the gambling rate of 11-15 year-olds is 16%. The report also declared that 9000 of the children are likely to be problem gamblers, with an addiction. These statistics are worrying when compared to far more known and discussed problems; among the same age group the rate of drinking was 5%, and the rate of smoking 8%. The study showed that children are twice as likely to gamble money as to abuse controlled substances.
To counter this, the gambling regulator called on parents, teachers, and all others who safeguard children to raise awareness on gambling and contain the problem. 75% of children have seen advertisements for gambling on television, while 63% have seen these ads via social media. Executive Director Tim Miller noted, “We’re often reminded to discuss the risks of drinking, drugs, and smoking with our children. However, our research shows that children are twice as likely to gamble than do any of those things.”
Online gambling played a large factor here. The study found that 3% of 11-15-year-olds spent their own money on online gambling while another 6% have gambled with their parent’s accounts. It is clear that online casinos UK over are a growing problem, for internet access puts the problem right at the children’s fingertips, enabling them to access gambling on their computers, in the supposed safety of their own homes.
“Safeguarding children in a digital age is complex, and what both RGSB and our research has highlighted is that it takes a multi-faceted approach by us, government, educators, gambling firms and parents” Tim Miller added on the challenge ahead. Indeed, 8% of children have gambled on commercial premises, a worrying statistic on the state of gambling protection.
To tackle the challenge, the Commission will be taking action of their own. The basis of the Commission’s regulation is enforced compliance. That is, concentrating on the self-regulation of gambling providers and enforcing those regulations with fines and sanctions.
As Miller provided, they will be doubling down on that compliance by gambling providers, to protect the youth. The Commission will be carrying out targeted compliance actions to enforce age restrictions and shore up any weaknesses in the age verification process, both in live gambling and in online casinos UK over.
He also asked the Responsible Gambling Board to act on the theme of children being exposed to and addicted to gambling at such a young age. Especially while the problem goes relatively unnoticed and under-discussed by British society. This will presumably involve tighter regulations and greater fines for violators.
“We want to reassure parents that our rules require gambling businesses to prevent and tackle underage gambling and we take firm action where young people are not properly protected.”