MORE than 55,000 kids have a gambling problem — up fourfold in just two years, a shock study reveals.
One in seven aged 11-16 — 450,000 in total — bet regularly, spending £16 a week.
And 70,000 not yet deemed problem gamblers are at risk. Fruit machines, bingo, betting shops and gambling websites are youngsters’ favourites — despite being illegal for under-18s, Gambling Commission regulators found.
Liz Ritchie, whose gambler son Jack killed himself at 24, demanded a ban on betting ads.
She said: “We need tougher enforcement to restrict kids’ access to gambling and a clear health warning that includes gambling’s high suicide risk.”
Clive Hawkswood, chief of the Remote Gambling Association — representing online firms — said: “There are too many children gambling.
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“We all have to do more to push the number down. The link between children gambling and ads isn’t clear-cut but there’s genuine concern.
“Hopefully a review we are in at the moment will resolve that.”
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