Very few young Australians gamble regularly

New research into young Australians and their gambling habits has found that very few 10-24 year olds take part in gambling activities on a daily or even weekly basis.

While 77 percent of young people have participated in a gambling activity at least once in the past 12 months, overall, gambling frequency is not particularly high.

These are the findings from Gambling Research Australia commissioned study Gambling and Young People in Australia (Aug 2011), which was undertaken by the Australian Council for Educational Research.

The national study examined young Australians and their gambling habits, including when, where, how, to what extent they gamble and possible risk factors around their gambling.

The study involved a sample of 5,972 10-24 year olds (at school and not at school). It included a review of national and international literature on young people and gambling, three surveys (on-line, paper and pencil and telephone interview) plus focus groups and data analysis.

The majority of participants were classed as social gamblers (56%), nearly one-quarter were non-gamblers (23%), 16% were at-risk gamblers and 5% were problem gamblers.

Participants were split into three age groups: 10-14, 15-17 and 18-24 with 76%, 64% and 85% respectively reporting having gambled at least once in the past year.

Young people in the 18-24 age group were three times more likely to be at-risk gamblers than their younger counterparts and twice as likely to be problem gamblers than the 15-17 age group.

Males were more likely to be at-risk or problem gamblers than females, while indigenous young people were 6.4 times more likely to be problem gamblers than non-indigenous participants.

On average, problem gamblers reported participating in eight – out of a list of 13 - different gambling activities over the past 12 months, while at-risk gamblers reported five different activities and social gamblers three.

Over 50% of problem gamblers were involved in all 13 gambling activities presented with the exception of bingo (46%). After scratch cards (80%), problem gamblers played cards at home (77%), and purchased lottery tickets (74%).

The most common gambling activities among young people overall were purchase of instant prize-tickets or scratch cards, followed by lottery tickets, and playing cards games at home or in the homes of friends or relatives.

Among social gamblers, the most common gambling activities were purchase of scratch cards (52%), purchase of lottery tickets (41%) and participation in football tipping or sweeps (40%).