June 01, 2020

Adolescent Gambling, Gambling Expenditure and Gambling?Related Harms in Finland, 2011?2017

  • Kinnunen J.
  • Lindfors P.
  • Pere L.
  • Raisamo S.
  • Rimpelä A.

Existing literature on recent trends in adolescent gambling is scarce. The rapidly changing landscape of gambling, together with the generally applied legal age limits, calls for the continuous monitoring of gambling also among the adolescent population. In Finland, the legal gambling age is 18. We examined changes in adolescents? gambling, gambling expenditure and gambling?related harms from 2011 to 2017. Comparable cross-sectional biennial survey data were collected in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 among 12?18-year-olds (N = 18,857). The main measures were self-reported six-month gambling, average weekly gambling expenditure (¤) and harms due to gambling. Data were analyzed using cross-tabulations, ?2-tests and linear regression analysis. A significant decline in gambling among minors (aged 12?16-year-olds) was found (? = ? 0.253), while no significant changes were observed among 18-year-olds (who are not targeted by the law). The mean gambling expenditure also declined from 2011 to 2017. Adolescent gamblers experienced significantly less (p =.003) gambling?related harms in 2017 (7.4%) compared to 2011 (13.5%). Adolescent gambling and its related negative consequences have become less prevalent in Finland between 2011 and 2017. Further monitoring is necessary to ascertain whether the positive direction will continue. Also, empirical analyses providing evidence of reasons for the observed trend are warranted.

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