A University of Bristol study may give a reality check to UK residents. The study claims that in the UK young people will develop the habits of gambling by the age of 20. In fact, the study further claims that by the age of 17, half of the young generation would experience gambling in some of the other forms.
The study was part of the long-term health research study. It was conducted on 14000 young people. ‘The Children of 90s’ was commissioned by the GambleAware to understand new insights into gambling behavior.
There were three age groups in the study, 17, 20 and 24. 54% of the 17 years old population confirmed that they gambled in the past year. The percentage increased to 68% for the 20 years old and slightly decreased to 66% for 24 years old.
The data was gathered from each of the age groups that comprised almost 3500 people in each of the groups. The preliminary form of gambling has been a lottery in this and is focused on buying tickets or the scratch cards, claimed the report. The betting among friends is also very popular. However, all of these forms of gambling are legal for that age range.
However, what is concerning is the online gambling activity. Almost 9% of people aged 17 claimed that they have gambled online. The percentage stands at 35% for the people aged 20 years and 47% for 24 years old. The percentage of female participation in online gambling has also increased. It stands 0.8% for the 17 years group, 4% for the 20 years group and 11% for the 24 years group.
The social and environmental factors are considered the prime reason for the increased activity study claimed. The children whose parents gamble are more likely to pick up gambling. The heavy social media users who have played gaming at a young age are also vulnerable to gambling, the study found.
The study further finds that the regular gamblers of this age are twice more likely to smoke cigarettes and consume alcohol than non-gamblers. Out of the surveyed people, 6%-7% of the people have already developed gambling problems by the age of 24. This group is more likely to engage in drug abuse and criminal activity finds the study.
Alan Emond, Emeritus Professor of Child Health at the Centre for Academic Child Health at Bristol Medical School’s Population Health Sciences department, believes that the study is a unique opportunity to understand the gambling problem. The behavioral patterns of the parents and the gambling activity from adolescence to young adulthood must be considered to understand the pattern.
Only 6%-7% of people with no gambling experience show the behavior of the mental health problem, drug abuse, and criminal activity. But, education, legislation, and proper treatment can help the gambling affected young people, concluded Emond.