Exposure from family members or even advertising on TV in early life is linked to a greater risk of gambling harm, according to a new research.
A representative survey featuring 18,000 UK adults found that exposure early in life, such as hearing/seeing family members gamble or betting related TV advertising and market, can lead to a higher risk of harm or addiction later in life.
Around 64% of participants who had experienced harm said they knew someone who gambled regularly before they became an adult.
Conversely, 25% of adults who do not participate in gambling or do not have an account with a betting site said that they do not know someone who gambles regularly.
The full-scale study also delves deeper to try and determine how early people are exposed to gambling, with 6% responding with before the age of five, while over a quarter said that they first remember exposure between the ages of six and 11.
The survey combines both qualitative and quantitate responses, with the former revealing that an early introduction to gambling by family members was a ‘turning point’ in their lives with many going on to experience harm or addiction.
22% reported first having gambled before they were 18 years old, including one in six who started between the ages of 12-17.
One of the main findings also highlighted people’s fears over greater access to mobile phones and television, which in turn increases the chances of stumbling upon gambling advertisement.
In particular, parents expressed a concern over the difficulties of preventing children from being exposed to a constant feed of advertising, leading to fears that gambling harm and addiction could become an even bigger problem for the next generation.
The research shows a jump in young people (18-24) experiencing significant harm from gambling, with an increase of 3.4%.
Zoë Osmond, Chief Executive of GambleAware, said: “Gambling harms are a serious public health issue and can affect anyone, including an increasing amount of children and young people.
“We are concerned about the normalisation of gambling across society, with this year’s report clearly highlighting a potential link between early exposure and harms in later life, as well as a worry by parents who feel unable to shield their children from the plethora of advertising and marketing.
“It is also important to end the stigma associated with gambling, which is acting as a key barrier to those wanting advice and support. We encourage people to come forward and open up the conversation about gambling to put an end to stigma and ensure people get the help they need.”