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Teenagers and gambling – the facts

They're under 18, so they don't gamble – right?

Typical results of studies involving adolescents show that between 60 and 80 per cent of young people aged 13–17 years gamble at least once a year. This includes gambling with friends, playing lottery tickets, raffles and sweeps.

Despite age checks in venues and online, teens also gamble on the pokies, racing and sports betting. A study with people aged 11–16 years in Scotland found that 12.2 per cent of participants had gambled online within the previous year.

Gambling is changing the way young people think about sport. Commentators often talk about the odds instead of key information like player form and team injuries, so it’s not surprising when we hear teenagers follow suit. And when they see their sporting heroes endorse betting agencies, who could blame them for thinking gambling is a normal part of enjoying sport, when really it’s an unnecessary extra that should be approached with caution.

Teenagers are reportedly five times more likely than adults to experience gambling-related harm.

So it's important to talk to them about gambling sooner rather than later. And remember you don't need to be an expert on the topic to start a conversation.

Key facts

  • A qualitative study of kids aged 8–16 years who watch sport found that 75 per cent think betting on sport is normal.
  • 75 per cent of kids aged 8–16 can name one or more sports betting companies, and 25 per cent can name four or more, according to this study.
  • Around 20 per cent of young people have participated in sports betting (Gen Bet: Has gambling gatecrashed our teens?)
  • one in five adults with a gambling problem started gambling before 18 years of age (the Victorian Gambling Study).

Learn more about gambling research and young people.

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