There are many forms of gambling, you may not even realise that some activities are gambling. For most gambling activities, the legal age in the United Kingdom, is 18.
Examples of different types of gambling activity:
- Sports betting
- Private bets
- Gaming machines
- Esports betting
Most of these activities are also available online via a phone, tablet or computer.
Spotting the signs of gambling harm
There are many signs that could indicate that someone is struggling with gambling, you may notice changes in yourself or a friend or family member.
Some examples of signs of gambling related harm:
- Preoccupation with gambling
- Missing lectures/ missing course work deadline
- Withdrawal from social/friendship
- Changes in mood/behaviour
- Gambling until you have nothing left
- Chasing losses
- Borrowing money
- Unexplained debt/ new or extra money/possessions
- Feeling anxious and worried
Gaming can be fun, sociable and a good way to relax and unwind. It’s accessible on mobile, pc and consoles and is increasingly popular for people of all ages.
Many games have begun to implement paid add-ons, from downloadable content (DLC) to Loot boxes, many of which require luck, and have odds comparable to those of gambling.
This can increase financial risk and Loot boxes have been compared to gambling, with many spending more than they can afford.
Spotting the signs of gaming related harm
Signs of gaming harm may include:
- Constantly thinking about or wanting to play the game
- Feeling irritable and restless (fidgety) when not playing
- Underreporting or lying about how much time you’ve spent playing or playing in secret (such as in the middle of the night)
- Tiredness, headaches or hand pain from too much screen time and use of controllers
- Not wanting to pay attention to things like your personal hygiene (e.g., washing) or eating
- Not seeing friends as often or doing other things you used to enjoy doing as all your time is spent gaming
- Not wanting to go to university/lectures or work so that you can game