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Gambling: Students

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL14424, tabled on 11 March 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the National Union of Students’ gambling survey, published on 25 February, that (1) three in five students have gambled in some way over the past 12 months, (2) almost one in ten have used all or some of their student loan to gamble, and (3) four per cent of respondents owed over £20,000 as a result of gambling.

Answered on

20 March 2019

All operators providing gambling facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and comply with licence conditions. These include requirements to prevent underage gambling, offer tools to help consumers manage their gambling and offer the facility to self-exclude.

The publication Gambling Behaviour in Great Britain 2016, which is based on the Health Surveys and reports participation and problem gambling rates, indicated that that rates of low risk gambling were highest among those aged 16 to 24 (5.8%), and we support measures to offer additional protections to this group. NUS has recently announced Gamban, software blocking gambling websites and apps, will be made available for free to students.

The Commission welcomed the work done by the National Union of Students (NUS) to explore gambling behaviour among those at university students, but noted that caution must be taken to use these results in context, as the research did not seek to be representative of the population, and used methodology which may slightly over-estimate the role of gambling in students’ lives.

The Gambling Commission’s Young People Survey 2018 looked at gambling behaviour by 11-16 year olds. The most popular activities were those in which children could take part legally, for example private bets with friends. All operators must have effective policies and procedures designed to prevent underage gambling, and the Commission has a range of powers to act in the case of failures. The survey found that in some instances parents and guardians were facilitating gambling, for example, buying lottery tickets or scratchcards on behalf of a child under 16.