New research has been released suggesting that British Asian children have a higher risk, almost double, of becoming addicted to gambling as compared to white children.
A study of over 9000 children aged from 11 to 15 years old were surveyed by the University of Salford and National Centre for Social Research. Of the groups that were studied and analysed through the initiative, the Asian demographic was to be the least likely to gamble, however those who were enticed by gambling showed the highest rates of problem addiction. This survey was further influenced by a study of pocket money which was linked to an increase in possible addiction if the child earned more.
Of the amount of children questioned, 13% of British Asian children were found to be regular gamblers as compared to 20% overall.
This was further propelled by Asians proportionately at a greater risk of developing addictive and problem behaviour as a result, which included lying to family and friends or using money on gambling which would otherwise be used for various other needs for the child.
The outlets for which the general public were most prominently using for gambling included slot machines as well as betting with friends on cards. Some children interviewed also admitted to using various devices for years to facilitate their gambling wants and needs.
“I've been going to the arcades for 2 years,” said Imran, aged 12 who uses the 10p slot machines. “Mostly nothing comes out, but it's very addictive so we just keep coming back and spend most of our money.”
Kasim, aged 15, said that placing a wager with friends on the outcome of computer games makes them more challenging as well as fun.”What draws me to gambling is the feeling you get when you win money which is different from when you're normally playing. It adds tension to the game.” He said.
Whilst making an occasional trip or a minimal wager does not necessarily make them addicts, researchers have warned that secretive behaviour can be an indicator to a higher risk of addiction.
“In the Asian community there is strong social disapproval of gambling in general,” said Prof David Forrest, who led the research study on children and gambling. “This means the minority who choose to gamble are already overcoming a barrier – already suffering a cost in terms of social disapproval.”
“So probably a lot of Asians who gamble are people drawn to risk-taking whereas among whites many players are not candidates for hardened gambling because they're playing for social reasons rather than a driver in their inner self,” he said.
Prof Forrest also stated that many adult problem gamblers were found to have started young – some at the ages eight or nine years old and that this influence could also have an impact on younger children today and their upbringing towards gambling.