Safeguarding children from gambling-harm

Updated: Apr 15


In 2020, for the first time, the Gambling Commission explored the prevalence of gambling-harm from another person’s gambling in young people. Although the raw data was published, the findings on the effects of other harm in 11-16-year olds were not reported.

Also, in 2020, GambleAware, for the first time, reported quantitative results on this topic.

  • Approximately 1 in 3 adult gamblers who suffer significant gambling-harm have responsibility for a child under the age of 18 in the household (PGSI 1+: BAME = 43% & White = 25%)

  • Furthermore, 1 in 2 adult gamblers who suffer the most severe form of gambling-harm have responsibility for a child under the age of 18 in the household (PGSI 8+: BAME = 56% & White = 38%)

TalkGEN realises the importance of safeguarding children from gambling harm and aims to highlight the key findings on the topic concisely.


Harm from immediate family member(s) gambling

  • 1 in 20 (4.9%, 160, 000 children) 11-16- year old school students reported losing sleep at night because they were worried about an immediate family member's gambling in the past 12 months

  • 1 in 80 (1.3%, 42, 000 children) reported losing sleep for this reason 'all the time' or 'often.'

  • the base for lost sleep at night because of worrying = all participants

  • base for all other questions = all participants who have an immediate family member who has gambled in the last 12 months (although not explicitly stated, 36.8% of 11-16-year olds reported having an immediate family member who has gambled in the past 12 months (606/1645))

Harm from own gambling

The Young People Gambling Report has reported consistent results over 2017-2020 that:

  • 1 in 20 suffer gambling harm due to their own gambling in the past year (4.4%, 142, 000 children)

  • 1 in 60 11-16-year-olds suffer from the most severe form of gambling harm (1.7%, 55, 000 children)

In 2020, the Young People Gambling Report also released data on gambling-harms from own gambling that the DSM-IV-MR-J does not cover

  • base = all participants who spent their money on a gambling activity in the past 12 months (36%)


  • Gambling-harm as a result of another person's gambling largely continues to be ignored.

  • Early evidence suggests that gambling harm in 11-16-year-olds from someone else's gambling is more common than gambling harm from their own gambling.


  • Prevalence of gambling-harm in 0-11-year-olds has not yet been measured

  • Prevalence of affected others harm has been limited to harms from immediate family member's gambling (future research should include gambling-harm from all others)

  • The severity of harms in children not understood

  • The prevalence of different harms has been measured separately; strangely, the overall harm picture is missing (prevalence of affected by gambling harm in any way)

  • Legacy-harm due to family members' gambling (& debts) in previous years has not been measured.


A poem on Affected Others

On non-uniform day we hold

Our breath and clutch our gut

Afraid to show the world

Our tattered clothes and shattered hearts.

Dad’s spent all our cash

On running away from himself,

All he valued was the betting slips

And lord he slipped away from us,

Mum and bro, and his own soul

He fell into the chase, running

After ghost like dreams, anow now

He’s gone I’m taking up the role

Clutching the baton to move myself free,

A year ago I ran to twitter to

Share my truth, how a family

Can be broken by this silent pull

How a heart can be mended

By speaking of the wound

By Remi Graves


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