The Prevalence and Correlates of Gambling in Australian Secondary School Students
journal contributionposted on 2022-01-01, 00:00 authored by M Freund, N Noble, D Hill, Vicki WhiteVicki White, T Evans, C Oldmeadow, N Guerin, R Sanson-Fisher
Youth gambling is associated with a range of harms. This study aimed to examine, among Australian adolescents, the prevalence of gambling (ever, in the last month, at-risk and problem), the most frequent gambling types and modalities, and to explore the student characteristics associated with gambling in the last month and with at-risk or problem gambling. Students aged 12–17 years from Victoria and Queensland answered gambling questions as part of the Australian Secondary School Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) Survey in 2017. The ASSAD also included a series of questions about smoking, alcohol and other drug use, and mental health. A total of 6377 students from 93 schools were included in analysis. The prevalence of ever gambling and gambling in the last month was 31% and 6% respectively. Of students who had gambled in the last month, 34% were classified as at-risk and 15% were classified as problem gamblers. The most frequent types of gambling in the last month were horse or dog race and sports betting. Students who gambled in the last month did so most frequently via a parent or guardian purchasing or playing for them, at home or at a friends’ house, and online or using an app. Regression analysis indicated that male gender, having money available to spend on self, alcohol consumption in the last seven days, the number of types of advertisements seen in the last month, and the number of peer or family members who gambled in the last month, were significantly associated with the likelihood of students gambling in the last month. Male gender, some age categories, and exposure to more types of gambling advertising were also significant predictors of being classified as an at-risk or problem gambler. This large study of youth gambling provides data on gambling behaviours and related variables from a large sample of Australian secondary school students. Student characteristics, including male gender and exposure to more types of gambling advertising, were associated with an increased likelihood of gambling in the last month and of being classified as an at-risk or problem gambler. Further implications of the study findings are discussed.