Twelve percent of children in Great Britain between 11-15 gambled in the week prior to being asked, Gambling Commission statistics show, although the regulator also stated that many gambling experiences are coming from outside the industry.
The highest percentage of young gamblers in any one industry activity was five percent, with the National Lottery, private bets, and fruit machines the most common in the age bracket.
The fruit machine category included pubs and clubs, but also arcades, raising the question of whether the 11 to 15-year-olds from the survey knew the regulatory definition of a fruit machine,or whether it was used as a catch-all phrase for certain arcade machines.
Despite releasing this data under the headline: “Children are experiencing gambling without understanding the consequences”, Tim Miller, executive director of the Gambling Commission, explained that the major cause for concern does not come from within the industry.
“We require gambling operators to have strong protections in place to prevent children from accessing their products and are actively reviewing how some, like age verification, can continue to be strengthened,” he said.
“However,it is clear that many children’s experiences of gambling-style activities are coming from the playground, the games console or social media rather than the bookmaker, the casino or the gambling website.
“That’s why it is essential that we work across industries and with parents so that together we can protect children and encourage those that choose to gamble in adulthood to do so safely.”
Under recent scrutiny were loot boxes in games console titles such as Star Wars Battlefront II, however the regulator said it was not able to intervene due to the activity not passing the legal definition of gambling.