UKGC: friends and family ‘influential’ in shaping gambling behaviour


The UK Gambling Commission has found that friends and family play a “hugely influential role in shaping gambling behaviour,” as the regulator publishes findings of research which looks to explore the gambling journeys and behaviours of young people and adults aged 16 to 30.

It adds that advertising and marketing “played a lesser role in influencing young people’s tendency to gamble”, and was said to act as a trigger or nudge to play as opposed to the reason to start.

The research, conducted by 2CV, was conducted in two stages that ran sequentially, with 30 participants aged 16-30 took part in an online community which was held over 10 days, before an online survey featured 962 respondents aged 16-25.

It is said that the research is intended to supplement a wider research programme to understand the experiences of children, young people and vulnerable adults, with the findings said to add “a deeper insight to the Commission’s work”.

Further key findings include young people being most vulnerable to experiencing gambling harm after achieving independence from their parents, as well as engagement with gambling throughout childhood and early adulthood aligned to a familiar set of life events and milestones.

Engaging with gambling or gambling-style activities during childhood was also said to be common, but participation was “primarily a product of being present or involved with other people’s gambling, rather than proactive underage gambling”.

“Protecting consumers is at the heart of everything we do, and it is important we understand the ways in which children and young people gain exposure to gambling, the products they are playing, and what factors influence their relationship with gambling,” explained Tim Miller, executive director of the Gambling Commission.

“This latest research forms an important part of our ongoing and wider research programme into gambling behaviours and latest trends across Great Britain.

“Action to protect consumers should be led by evidence and today’s research publication provides important insights specifically into the ways that children and young people can be protected from gambling harms.”

It was added that for some, exposure to the positive and negative extremes of gambling at an early age led to an increased interest in later life, and in some cases “riskier or more harmful gambling behaviour”.

Moreover, the 2CV findings also stated that as people grew older gambling behaviour did not stay the same; rather it fluctuated according to personal (and peer) experiences of wins and losses, and alongside changes in lifestyle and responsibility.