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25,000 Children In Britain Are Problem Gamblers

About 25,000 children aged between 11 and 16 are problem gamblers, with many learning to bet via computer games and social media.  The commission has learned that approximately 370,000 (12%) children in England, Scotland and Wales have gambled in the past week, . More than quarter of a million children gambled with a licensed operator, such as a bookmaker or online casino. About 25,000, are defined as problem gamblers, with a further 36,000 at risk of developing a problem. Fruit machines remain the most common introduction to gambling for young people at 24%, followed by the National Lottery at 21%.

The commission also learned that children were increasingly being exposed to gambling in less traditional ways, such as through eSports (computer games competitions) and via social media.

The report found that 11% of children took part in skins betting, allowing online gamers to bet using in-game items, such as weapons or outfits, which can have real monetary value if traded.

Skins betting, an industry worth up to $5.1bn (£3.8bn) last year according to one US report, is a common feature of games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Earlier this year, two men were convicted for running a website that allowed children to bet on the Fifa series of online football games.

More than one in 10 children reported having played casino-style games, which simulate roulette or fruit machines, on Facebook or smartphone apps.

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