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Study Looks at Effects of Early Exposure to Gambling

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YouGov has carried out a study for GambleAware, the gambling addiction charity, looking into how exposure to gambling adverts at a young age influences gambling habits later in life.

The study saw interviews conducted with 18,000 adults and also examined how adults gambling around younger individuals may have influenced their future behavior. The study found that two-thirds of adults who suffer from gambling harm knew someone who gambled during their childhood.

GambleAware Publishes YouGov Results

YouGov concluded that seeing family members gambling or viewing gambling adverts on television may have an adverse effect on a young person’s long-term views on gambling and the way in which they approach the activity. YouGov found that 64% of people asked who were classified as “experiencing significant harm” said that their behavior was influenced by knowing someone who gambled during their childhood.

Of those who did not gamble, just 25% of people knew someone who gambled during their childhood. From this, GambleAware concluded that the normalization of gambling during childhood has an impact on young people and their gambling habits as adults.

YouGov published further statistics regarding the habits and backgrounds of people who suffer from gambling harms. For instance, it found that 6% of people became aware of gambling before they were five years old. Additionally, 28% had experienced gambling between the ages of six and eleven. 22% of respondents said that they had gambled before they were 18, and 16% said that they began gambling between the ages of 12 and 17.

Concerns about Normalizing Gambling

We are concerned about the normalization of gambling across society, with this year’s report clearly highlighting a potential link between early exposure and harms in later life, as well as a worry by parents who feel unable to shield their children from the plethora of advertising and marketing. It is also important to end the stigma associated with gambling, which is acting as a key barrier to those wanting advice and support. We encourage people to come forward and open up the conversation about gambling to put an end to stigma and ensure people get the help they need.

Zoe OsmondGambleAware Chief Executive

People Urged to Seek Help

It is thought that at least 1.6 million children in the UK live with people who suffer from gambling addiction or harm, and the study examined how the problem was being addressed. Close to half (48%) of people who have experienced significant gambling harm said that they felt “embarrassed or ashamed” of their behavior.

More concerning, 34% of these individuals have not sought any form of help or support in the past twelve months indicating a pressing need for more resources and initiatives to address the issue.

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