What are the factors that influence a young person to start up a gambling habit? Is it repeated exposure to online sportsbook and casino advertisements on television and online? Or is the sinister flow of dopamine they get when unlocking loot boxes while playing their favorite video games? According to a recent study by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), the main factor is a child’s early exposure to the emotional highs and lows that come with gambling of any kind; problem or otherwise.
The study was conducted by an outfit called 2CV using 16-30-year-olds who participated in a series of focus groups and online surveys. What the focus groups and surveys found was that early exposure to gambling was crucial in setting a young person’s attitudes towards gambling. The bottom line was that how gambling is treated in the home you grow up in has a major influence on how you perceive gambling as an adult. Problem gambling starts, according to the survey, when a child leaves home and his or her gambling habit can grow unfettered.
In a statement posted on the UKGC website, Tim Miller, Executive Director of the Gambling Commission explained the Commissions goals with the survey saying, “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.
“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.”
The Commission went on to say that the survey showed the need for a more holistic approach to dealing with problem gambling that includes a focus on groups of people, rather than merely looking at individuals.