One in eight teenage boys (13 per cent) are regular gamblers with some admitting they are addicted, according to study for Britain’s biggest gambling charity (GambleAware).
By the age of 20, the proportion of young men gambling at least once a week has risen to one in five (20 per cent), according to the Bristol University study which has tracked more than 3,000 young people from the age of 17 to 24.
By the age of 24, it had dropped slightly to 17 per cent who were regular gamblers, betting on scratchcards, online gambling sites, placing private bets with friends or on the lottery.
About six to seven per cent of these regular gamblers were classed as having a problem or addiction with poor mental health, involvement with crime or potentially harmful levels of drug or alcohol use.
“To protect these vulnerable young people from gambling harm requires a combination of education, legislation and appropriate treatment services,” said Alan Emond, emeritus professor of child health at the Centre for Academic Child Health at Bristol Medical School.