The British responsible gambling charity has called for urgent action to tackle increasing gambling problems among young people.
UK.- The responsible gambling charity GamCare has warned of an “imminent need” to discuss gambling-related harm among young people.
It revealed that 71.5 per cent of calls made by under 18s to the National Gambling Helpline, which GamCare runs, were made by young people struggling with gambling issues personally rather than because of concern for a friend or family member.
Of those that called the helpline, 8.5% were considered ‘at risk’ of harmful gambling behaviour, GamCare said.
It also said that 77 per cent of young people who gambled used online operators or gambled via esports betting or social gaming.
Social gaming has been raised as a particular concern, allowing high spending limits, in-app purchases, skins betting and loot boxes.
GamCare has launched a website called BigDeal as a dedicated hub for young people, providing information, advice and support.
The group has released a video featuring boxer and YouTuber Viddal Riley and neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis that aims to highlight the impact of gambling on a young person’s brain development.
Anna Hemmings, CEO of GamCare, said: “Since lockdown, we’ve not only heard stories from our helpline that reveal young people are increasingly experiencing more parental gambling but there is also rising concern for potential harms to young people who gamble themselves.
“It’s been an extremely difficult year for young people, with many using the internet and social media not only to be in touch with friends, but also as a form of escapism.
“This makes it harder for parents to tell when their child might be displaying unhealthy behaviours, as often the symptoms, such as being withdrawn, can be confused with other issues and challenges teenagers face in this difficult period of their lives.
“That’s why we hope BigDeal will be a resource that speaks to young people in plain terms on the core issues related to gambling, the harms they could encounter, plus how they can get further support from our helpline.”
In its response to the UK government’s consultation on the future of gambling legislation, GamCare called for more investment in safer gambling measures, but it stopped short of calling for the introduction of a mandatory levy on gaming operators