A recent report which New Zealand’s Ministry of Health funded has revealed that gambling among youth in the Pacific region could be described as a social activity which takes place mostly with their friend and family members.
According to the research results, over 50% of the 17-year-old participants in the survey said that their parents placed bets. One in five felt anxiety or worry about the gambling habits of a family member, while one in nine had faced at least one house problem originating from the gambling habits of a family member.
The research showed that almost one-third of the young people in the Pacific region had placed bets with real money a year ago. The most common forms of gambling among them were placing bets with friends and family, as well as sports betting and card games.
One of the lead authors of the report, Dr Maria Bellringer, has shared that there are many cases of youth gambling occurring in the context of gambling seen as a risk-free behaviour in their families. According to the research headed by her, a small number of Pacific youngsters are facing harm or are put at risk of gambling of their family members. Dr Bellringer explained that the findings are important not only due to the harm experienced by young New Zealanders but also because of the increased risk faced of developing gambling addiction by underage individuals.
One in 62 Teenagers Was a Problem Gambler at the Age of 17
The study has been released as part of the Pacific Islands Families (PIF) research – a special research focused Pacific children who share similar characteristics and who were born in 2000 at the Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, and also among their parents.
The survey included a great variety of questions related to gambling to gather the responses of more than 600 children aged 9, 14, and most recently, at 17 in 2017. The survey’s nature has provided useful data regarding changes in risk factors and gambling behaviours in time, apart from details about the family, social and environmental factors associated with gambling.
As explained by Dr Bellringer, gambling appeared to be one of the types of risky behaviours which have increased along with the youth’s rising age. Trying gambling activities could be described as a problem when it leads to harm. The latest research into the gambling habits of New Zealand adolescents has shown that 1 in 62 teenagers was a problem gambler at the age of 17, while 25% of these adolescents had also been placing bets in a way that could harm them three years earlier.
According to the results of the study, most Pacific youths were gambling infrequently, but one in three appeared to have been gambling on a daily basis. One in 83 gambled for more than 3 hours daily. The research also found that young people who gambled on dice or played online games for real money were more inclined to place bets more frequently, and the one who gambled on bingo and dice were likely to spend more money. One in five young gamblers had used stolen money to place bets.
As far as help is concerned, according to the latest survey, Pacific youth mostly turned to friends while looking for help for gambling. Less than 10% of the youngsters who took part in the survey said they turned to adults, including their parents, other family members, teachers or guidance counsellors.