Around 450,000 children between the ages of 11 and 15 in England and Wales gambled in a week, according to a Gambling Commission report.
Of those, it is thought that 9,000 are problem gamblers.
The ‘Young People and Gambling’ report, published last week, found that 16 per cent of children of this age had gambled in the week prior to the survey – at least twice the percentage of those who took drugs, drank alcohol, or smoked.
The report also found that three quarters of 11 to 15-year-olds have seen gambling adverts on television, nearly two thirds have seen them on social media, and nine per cent follow gambling companies on social media.
Six per cent of this age range had gambled online using their parents’ accounts, and three per cent had used their own money to gamble online, it said.
Before the Gambling Act 2005 was introduced, The Christian Institute warned it would lead to gambling advertising becoming widespread.
In ‘Gambling with our Future’, the Institute predicted: “Gambling advertising will appear everywhere from street corners to television and gambling in a casino will become as easy as playing the National Lottery.”
At the time The Guardian stated: “It will be a vast and irreversible culture change”.
In the Act, the Government set a statutory licensing objective that children should be protected from gambling-related harm.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport recently held a review of gambling, including considering whether gambling adverts on television before the watershed should be banned.
Currently, bookmakers can advertise before 9pm providing it is for bingo, or during sports broadcasts.