In the United Kingdom, the Gambling Commission regulator has reportedly published the results of a study it recently conducted into the prevalence of gambling among young people and offered some surprising results.

According to a report from PokerNews.com, the Young People and Gambling 2016 investigation found that some 450,000 adolescents aged between 11 and 15 in Wales and England gambled at least once a week. This purportedly equates to approximately 16% of that age group with fruit machines allegedly the most prevalent form of gambling.

The Gambling Commission study reportedly found that National Lottery scratchcards and playing cards with friends for money were also among the most prevalent forms of gambling for adolescents while only 1% of the 2,411 questioned regularly enjoyed games of online poker.

Most worryingly, the Gambling Commission study reportedly found that a full 8% of the 11 to 15-year-olds surveyed had gambled in a commercial premise such as a bingo hall, betting shop or arcade in the week before being questioned. The regulator noted that some 9,000 of the 450,000 were now likely to develop some form of gambling addiction in the future, as suggested by studies.

“We’re often reminded to discuss the risks of drinking, drugs and smoking with our children,” read a statement from Tim Miller, Executive Director for the Gambling Commission, cited by PokerNews.com. “However our research shows that children are twice as likely to gamble than do any of those things.”

Other key findings of the Gambling Commission investigation reportedly included that males were nearly twice as likely at 21% to have gambled than their female counterparts while 24% of the adolescents questioned purportedly explained that they had engaged in gambling for the first time in order to make money versus 23% who had played for fun or entertainment purposes.

PokerNews.com moreover reported that 40% of the adolescents questioned saw an advertisement for gambling on television more than once a week, which had purportedly prompted 1% to gamble for the first time.

“We recognize that there are some gambling activities in which young people are legally permitted to partake, such as using a crane machine to win a toy or betting between friends, but we would encourage parents to speak to their children about the risks associated with gambling so that if they choose to gamble in adulthood they will do so in a safe and responsible way,” reportedly read the statement from Miller.

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