UK – In recent years, minors have gravitated towards gambling instead of the usual issues that they faced such as drinking, smoking, and drugs. This rise in children who gambled has reached such levels that can be considered very worrying by the Church of England. They are now calling on authorities to help inform people of the dangers of gambling and just how serious it is.
This comes after an audit by the Gambling Commission showed that the rise in the number of child gamblers has quadrupled in two years. There is approximately more than 50,000 child problem gamblers today and the numbers are continuously rising. This number covers gamblers aged 11 to 16, with 450,000 youngsters also seen to make bets regularly even though they are not yet considered problem gamblers.
These children have been seen to make bets averaging £16 every week, and this is done online, in betting shops, playing bingo, and on fruit machines. While this is illegal for kids under 18 to do, this does not stop them from doing so. Being labeled as a “generational scandal”, the church has called on parents and the government to be more concerned about the issue.
The Gambling Commission partly blames gambling advertisements on TV and in smartphone apps for this problem. Loot boxes and other forms of prize-winning in video games have also been blamed. These are said to expose and introduce over a million kids to gambling and that these are similar to some of the gambling games that one sees in casinos worldwide.
The church has also asked local authorities, schools, and the Government to put up more safeguards to protect youngsters from the dangers of gambling. This is to prevent their turning into problem gamblers as they become adults. While children are not being targeted by the gambling industry with their advertising, as they have staunchly announced, there is no doubt that these still reach a vast number of minors via social media and smartphone apps. This, in turn, has led to an increase of kids turning to gambling.
More safeguards and preventative measures are being called for but as of the moment, there is no information on how and when this will be done. The private sector, charitable institutions, and other organizations are being called on to help address this growing problem, which has escalated ever since gambling was deregulated in 2005.