Gambling, simply put, is staking (risking) money on a game of chance.



There are lots of different types of gambling and you may not immediately realise some activities are gambling. The Gambling Act 2005 sets out how gambling is regulated in Great Britain and it covers arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, gaming machines, society lotteries, and online gambling. 

For most gambling activities, the legal age is 18. However, there are some which do not have age restrictions, like playing a toy grabber game in the hope of catching a prize or making a bet with one of your friends about something. 

Different types of gambling activity

·        Arcades

·        Sports betting

·        Bingo

·        Casinos

·        Lotteries

·        Private bets

·        Gaming machines

·        eSports betting

In 2019 47% of people in the UK had gambled in the past four weeks. That number remains at 32% when you take away the national lottery.



In 2019, YGAM commissioned Red Brick Research to undertake research into gaming and gambling among undergraduate students, with more than 2,000 undergraduates and postgraduates surveyed. YGAM’s survey identifies that 47% of students have gambled in the last 12 months. Of these, 16% can be identified as moderate risk or problem gamblers, meaning about 264,000 students in the UK are at some risk from gambling with around 88,000 already defined as problem gamblers.

The survey found that 79% of students reported that they gamed, with 35% gaming most days and 17% gaming every day. Almost half of those who gamed every day felt it had gotten in the way of their academic performance. The findings show that students gamble to try to ease and improve their finances whilst at university. Of the students who have gambled in the past 12 months, nearly three-fifths (59%) say they are always worrying about their financial situation while 16% have gambled more than they could afford.







In comparison to other mental health issues, gambling-related harm is significantly underrepresented at University, in terms of advice available and references to relevant resources. Despite this, gambling is an important issue at University. Previous research on behalf of YGAM in 2019 identified that around half of students had gambled in the past year. Of these students, 24% are at some risk of experiencing gambling-related harms - and 8% already experience harms related to gambling.

Gambling-related harms can include negative impacts on your performance at University or work, finances, relationships, physical health, cultural practices, and emotional or psychological harms. Students may have a range of motivations to gamble. Although those at low-risk of gambling-related harm are more likely to gamble for fun, from our research we know that students who are at moderate or higher risk of experiencing gambling-related harm are more likely to gamble to regulate their mood (23%) and get a buzz (28%).

As student life can be filled with pressures, it is essential students who would like to access support around their gambling are encouraged to do so. Over half of the students who gamble also gamble to try to win money and for students,  financial circumstances can be an important issue. University is often the first opportunity to manage your money independently and for many, finances can be a challenge as you may receive a student loan or work to support your living costs.

It can feel difficult to open up about your gambling, which is why YGAM trains university staff about this very issue. It is important to know that your university or students’ union advice service will be confidential and understanding of your situation.

Talk to someone about your gambling. If you’re worried about your gambling activity or someone else’s, the National Gambling Helpline provides confidential information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling problems in England, Scotland and Wales. You can speak with Advisers one-to-one over the phone or via live chat every day of the year, 24 hours a day. They will be able to listen to what’s going on for you, and can talk you through all of the options available to you for support in your local area, online or over the phone.

Call on Freephone 0808 8020 133.


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