According to a new research published in the European Journal of Public Health, a significant proportion of individuals aged 11 to 16 years in Welsh schools reported experimenting with gambling in the past year.
Researchers at the Cardiff University collected data for >37,000 students across 193 Welsh secondary schools through a questionnaire on gambling behaviour as part of the 2017 School Health Research Network Student Health and Wellbeing Survey.
The findings showed that 41% of the respondents reported engaging in gambling in the past 12 months. Of these, 16% reported feeling bad about their actions. Boys have a higher frequency of gambling than girls. Individuals from minority ethnic groups and those who felt less connected to their school had a higher likelihood of engaging in gambling.
There is increasing evidence that engaging in gambling earlier in life increases the likelihood of problem gambling in adulthood. The widespread access to gambling and limited education about its socioemotional risks makes adolescents particularly vulnerable to its harms.
Professor G.J. Melendez-Torres, the lead author, said: "Our findings demonstrate the importance of educating young people and parents about the potential harms of gambling and support policy recommendations for schools and the education sector to raise awareness of these issues."