LSAC Publishes Latest Australia Underage Gambling Statistics

The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children has released its latest figures about the participation of 16/17-year-old children in various gambling activities.

New Australian Study Takes a Look at Underage Gambling Participation Rate

In 2003, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) began, and it has been offering insight into children gambling behavior in the country for over 15 years now. According to the annual figures, fewer than one in six Australian children aged 16 – 17 participated in gambling activities over the past 12 months.

The study established that 15.7% of all participants had participated in some form of gambling. Participation was once again higher among boys (19%) and lower among girls (12%).

Most of the gambling activities were legal, with 16/17-year-olds participating in pools hosted privately among friends or family members. Some 5% of all participants had tried lottery and some 3% had tried bingo.

The lowest participation rate was in keno and poker machines (2%), as they usually require individuals to be of the legal age that is usually 18 and older. Putting these percentages in numbers, LSAC believes there are around 9,000 17-year-olds in Australia who are gambling actively.

Trying to pinpoint the incidence of problem gambling behavior, the LSAC used the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). Overall, some 13.1% of all children participating in gambling activities were at a risk of developing a dependency on gambling.

Dissecting Social Factors and Addictive Behavior

The survey also focused on whether drinking alcohol had anything to do with gambling behavior. Fewer than one in four boys and one in seven girls who reported alcohol consumption within 12 months of conducting the study also reported to have gambled.

Similar to a study conducted by the University of Bristol and commissioned by GambleAware in the United Kingdom, the LSAC also paid attention to video games and video game-like gambling products.

For example, social gaming products such as Zynga Poker and Big Fish Casino were even more popular than actual gambling websites, but they also served as gateways to real money wagering opportunities later on.

Estimated 24% of all boys and 15% of all girls participated in these social gaming casinos. According to LSAC, the aforementioned products were akin to loot boxes, which have been a divisive topic across country borders.

Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands have taken the hardliner stance, calling loot boxes a form of gambling. In the case of Belgium and the Netherlands, publishers such as Valve and Electronic Arts have been asked to suspend loot boxes as part of their offer.

Interestingly over half of the mothers and fathers of 16/17-year-olds also participated in some form of gambling over the past 12 months leading to the study. Lottery games and scratch cards were the most common gambling segment for both mothers and fathers.

Fathers also found horse and dog races interesting enough to bet on them with the participation rate being 22%. In terms of problem gambling behavior among parents, 1.8% of fathers were reported as such whereas the incidence among mothers was much smaller at just 0.1%

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