Are Casinos Targeting Minors in the UK

Are Casinos Targeting Minors in The UK?

By Daniela Rose   

Responsible gambling mechanisms for minors at online casinos UK have come under the spotlight following the release of the Young People and Gambling Report 2023. The UK Gambling Commission released the year-long study during Safer Gambling Week in November.

The research was aimed at understanding young people’s exposure to and involvement in all forms of gambling in the UK. It found that 26% of youngsters aged between 16 and 17 years old spent their own money on gambling in the last 12 months. This raised concerns about the effectiveness of existing gambling regulations and safeguard mechanisms by casino operators when it comes to protecting minors.

Recommendations by the UKGC

The study provides valuable insights regarding the gambling habits of adolescents. UK online casinos are required to have sufficient safeguards in place to prevent children from illegally accessing gambling services.

The report has become an essential resource for legislators, scholars, gambling charities, and people working in the gambling industry. The government and the Commission frequently use the results of such studies for various objectives like analyzing why young people gamble and making changes to legislation if needed.

This study was carried out in schools, with students completing online self-completion surveys in class. As in previous years, data was collected from a sample of 3,453 11 16-year-olds and, for the first time, it included 17-year-olds attending institutions of higher learning and independent schools in England, Wales, and Scotland.

The study found that among the gambling activities utilized by teenagers were:

  • Playing arcade games such as penny pushers and claw grabs (19%)
  • Putting money on the line with friends or family (11%)
  • Playing card games for real money (5%)

It found that 26% of respondents spent their own money on gambling, compared to 31% in 2022, excluding arcade gaming machines, which young people can legally play. Also, 4% of respondents spent their own money on regulated gambling, which stood at 5% in 2022.

At-risk gamblers were recognized in 1.5% of those surveyed, compared to 2.4% in 2022.

55% of respondents had seen advertisements for gambling offline, compared to 66% in 2022. At least 53% had seen ads online, from 63% in 2022. The study revealed that 0.7% of those polled were seen as problem gamblers, compared to 0.9% in 2022.

The report recommended that efforts be made to decrease younger people’s exposure to gambling and to give them the knowledge and resources they need to make educated responsible gambling decisions.

It also encourages research into the elements that contribute to problem gambling and advised that more effective preventative strategies needed to be developed. This included exploring ways to tighten age verification and proposals to:

Remove the current exemption on proof of age purchasing.

Modifying the practice code to require licensees to have systems in place that require their employees to check the age of anybody who seems to be under 25 years old.

In addition, the Commission said it would investigate the evidence surrounding land-based venues without direct staff supervision and examine whether existing standards adequately prevented underage gambling.

In media reports, the commission said the safety of adolescents remained a top concern and relevant proposals would be reviewed in the near future for potential action into the Gambling Act.

What Measures Can Parents Take to Help Their Children

As game development, social media, and online casinos UK grow in popularity, measures need to be taken to safeguard teenagers and children. The games a youngster plays on digital platforms could expose them to gambling-like systems. Children may encounter games with reward schemes similar to those found in adult-oriented gambling sites. Simulated types of gambling such as online gaming, apps, and sports bets, do not always include monetary transactions, but they can serve as a gateway to genuine gambling.

Parents play a critical role in preventing the onset of gambling tendencies why recognizing the various media influences on their children,. They should monitor how their children spend their online time to avoid the development of gambling habits.

Parents should initiate a conversation with their child or children, which should include an awareness of gambling, the ability to recognize risky behaviour, and techniques to avoid addictive habits. Here are a few measures that parents can take to help their children:

Communication is key

Inform your kids about the hazards that lurk online and what to look out for. Children begin utilizing technology as young as toddlers, so have regular talks from the start. Create an environment that is open and honest. Let your youngster or teen know you’re available to talk without passing judgment.

Make use of parental controls.

Most home internet service companies allow clients to establish parental controls. Your child’s device might have parental controls such as limiting screen time. Parents can control activities, view usage reports, and change settings. You can also restrict access to UK online casinos and regulate access to games and apps.

Set usage restrictions

You can install a free program to limit your children’s time on their smartphones. For example, the Google Family Link for Parents app allows parents to establish screen limits and manage app usage. Apple’s newest operating system (iOS 13) also includes screen time limits, app limits, and other parental usage limit settings for iPhones and iPads.

As the UK grapples with the troubling growth in underage gambling, a concerted effort is required to protect the future of the next generation. Among the organizations that can assist include the following:

  • National Gambling Treatment Service – GamCare’s National Gambling Helpline provides private advice, assistance, and information about problem gambling.
  • National Health Service (NHS) – Help with Gambling Addiction in the UK – You can find information about gambling addiction on the NHS website.
  • National Problem Gambling Clinic – GambleAware and NHS England collaborated to commission the National Problem Gambling Clinic as part of the National Gambling Treatment Service.
  • Northern Gambling Service – The NHS Northern Gambling Service offers specialized addiction treatment and recovery to persons who are addicted to gambling.
  • Counselling Directory – Through the provision of a counselling support network, those experiencing distress can locate a counsellor who is both close to them and suitable for their requirements.
  • Samaritans – A 24-hour service that provides discreet emotional assistance for those who are facing sadness or despair, especially feelings that could result in self-harm. 0800 116 123 is the UK helpline number.

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