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Problematic Gambling

The legal definition of when young people can gamble is over 16 years for Lotteries and 18 years for sports and bingo, etc. However, young people do gamble under the age of 16 years of age. In the majority of cases this is a normal part of a young person’s development, however, in a few circumstances it can be defined as problematic gambling.

The Gambling Commission have released results of a survey conducted of young people aged 11-16 years old in Great Britain around gambling in November 2018. The results gives us cause for concern.

14% of young people had spent money on gambling the previous week. This would represent 2,154 of 11-16 year olds in Tameside.

On average a young person spent £16 per week on gambling. The estimated spend by Tameside young people would be over £34,000 per week or £1.7 million a year.

1.7% of young people can be classified as problematic gamblers. This would equate to 184 children.

2.2% of young people are at risk of developing problematic gambling behaviour. This would equate to 338 children.

66% of young people aged between 11 and 16 years old had seen an advert on TV during the previous week around gambling, this would translate into 10,154 Young People.

Some common betting terms;

Skin gambling - Many online games used by children contain skins such as costumes and camouflages that users can use to customise their in game avatar and weapons. Some skins are more common than others. There are a number of casino-style websites that allow players to export their collection of skins to use as currency. Players can cash out their skins for real money. According to the Gambling Commission skin gambling sites must be licensed and have an age verification process, but in reality few skin gambling sites are licensed.

Loot Boxes - These are virtual treasure chests in online videos. Users don’t usually know what is in the box so some people think they introduce gambling like behaviours in children. The Gambling Commission sees them as football cards rather than gambling.

E-sports - Electronic sports are competitive video games played online. Children and young people often watch them and there is an emerging market of unregulated gambling sites relating to skins.

In play betting - Betting that occurs when the event is ongoing.

Fixed odds - your guarantee that your potential return bet will not change.

Signs to look out around problematic gambling in children;

There is no one indicator that identifies a child with gambling problems. Here are some signs to look out for;

  • The person often thinks about gambling activities at odd times of day.
  • They lie to their family or friends to hide how much they have gambled.
  • The spend money on gambling activities in an attempt to win their money back.
  • They spend school dinner money and bus money on gambling activity.
  • They have taken money from someone they live with without them knowing to gamble.
  • They gamble as a way of escaping problems.
  • They find they need to spend more and more money on gambling activities.
  • The person becomes restless, tense, fed up or bad tempered when trying to cut down or stop gambling.
  • The person misses school to participate in gambling activities more than five times.

Support Websites

There are some great websites that supports parents and professionals around gambling.

Be Gamble Aware:

This website offers general gambling support website for advice and a helpline for support.


General website that provide advice and a helpline if you’re worried about gambling support. It has self-help resources.

Be Game Aware:

This website provides resources for teachers and youth workers to support Young People around gambling.

National Gambling Treatment Service:

Parents & Carers

Free Online Self Exclusion:

A website for self-exclusion from online betting websites.


Contact Details

Tameside Safeguarding Children Partnership
Tameside One, 
Market Place, 

General Enquiries

Tel : 0161 342 4348

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