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Under-18s illegally gambling during Christmas Lottery

Under-18s illegally gambling during Christmas Lottery

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Under-18s illegally gambling during Christmas Lottery

Tuesday 23 January 2024


A new report has revealed that people in Guernsey gamble more than in other jurisdictions – with the main ‘gambling activity’ being the Christmas Lottery, where under-18s were found to have illegally taken part.

A pre-pandemic Health Impact Assessment paints a dire picture of the island’s gambling trends, suggesting that 79.9% of Guernsey respondents gamble, compared to 57% across Great Britain as a whole.

Among its key findings was that the island's 'highest gambling activity" was participating in the Channel Islands Christmas Lottery – with 67.5% having taken part, including some below the legal age limit of 18.

The second highest gambling activity was the purchase of scratch cards.

This was an area where Guernsey gambling habits were found to differ starkly from comparison populations – 46.3% had purchased scratch cards in Guernsey, compared to 29.3% in Isle of Man and 21% in Great Britain.

Analysis of scratch card revenue showed that sales of scratch cards had increased year-on-year and were higher in Guernsey than Jersey in every year between 2013 and 2021.

lottery

Pictured: Scratch card revenues were found to be higher in Guernsey than Jersey, and Jersey residents bought on average fewer Christmas Lottery tickets than Guernsey residents.

Scratch card use was found to be associated, more than any other gambling activity, with poor health indicators including poor general health, low mental wellbeing, living with excess weight/obesity, regular GP visits, mental health/counselling service attendance, poor diet, tobacco smoking, financial problems and violence perpetration.

The report also highlighted how the gambling landscape is changing, with activity differing significantly between younger and older people in Guernsey. In-game purchasing (e.g. of loot boxes), as well as scratch card use, were identified as areas of concern among young gamblers.

Without intervention, the 18.9% of at risk gamblers in the 18 to 24-year-old group may become the problem gamblers of the future, the report noted.

Recreational gamblers are more likely to report poor physical and mental health and increased risk of health risk behaviours such as nicotine dependence, alcohol use disorder and substance use.

stress-depression

Pictured: Gambling has been linked to poorer mental and physical health.

The bulk of the research into Guernsey's gambling habits was carried out between September 2019 and February 2020 – but the island's Public Health Director said the picture was likely to have worsened since then.

"It is my view that pandemic pressures and the ongoing economic challenges that have followed are likely, if anything, to have worsened or exacerbated the trends that were detected in 2019/2020, hence we can think of the findings as the minimum extent of the issues affecting Guernsey residents in 2024 and beyond," explained Dr Nicola Brink.

It comes as islanders in Jersey continue to raise questions around the operation of the Channel Islands Lottery, with the top prize being won in Guernsey over the past six years.

Following questions from Express earlier this month, the lottery's organiser, Jon Taylor, revealed that in 2023, there were a total of 398,850 tickets sold in Guernsey compared to 456,750 sold in Jersey.

Although a larger number of tickets were sold in Jersey, there was more enthusiasm for the lottery in Guernsey – Jersey residents bought around four tickets each on average, compared to approximately six tickets per person in Guernsey.

Following the publication of the findings yesterday afternoon, Guernsey's government said that more research was needed to understand the impact of gambling on islanders' health and wellbeing and to assess if current support is sufficient.

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