A new survey has revealed that over 300,000 youngsters in the United Kingdom (UK) have been gambling every week through online games and other channels. The report published by the Gambling Commission pinpoints that over 1 in 10 youth claims to have participated in gambling style social games at some point in their lives.
When it comes to trying a hand in gambling, there are plenty of opportunities. These are available as free-to-play casino games, on social media platforms and on some computer games. The young respondents have stated that they have been accessing these free to play games on smartphones or tablets.
The survey result puts gambling regulatory authority in the spotlight. Time and again, the UK Gambling Commission has said that dealing with video games and tackle gambling amongst children is “high on their list of priorities”.
According to the commission, the online resources do not have the level of safety compared to regulated gambling products and lack protections such as responsible gambling messages.
The executive director of the Gambling Commission Tim Miller has commented that the gambling operators must come up with effective safeguards to keep children from accessing their products and get strict on other parameters such as reviewing of age verification.
However, the report also finds that most common forms of gambling amongst youth happens in places that do not have to be regulated, most common being between a social circle of friends, scratch cards and fruit machines.
The executive director suggested that experiences of gambling-style activities have not been coming via the bookmakers, casino or gambling websites but from the playground, social media platforms and the games console. The executive added there is a need to work across industries to protect children from the potential harms of such activities.
The report underlined that gaming is a gateway to gambling, particularly aiming at “skin betting” websites that allow users to gamble with virtual items. The "Skins" is a unique virtual tool used in video games as a currency. Using the "skins", users can gamble on casino or slot type games and later cash them out as real money.
Nearly half of the UK population plays video games. The survey reveals that 11 percent of 11-16-year-olds participate in “skins” betting and the activity is more common among boys of the age group.