This study was undertaken by the Australian Council for educational Research Ltd (ACER) and presents a number of findings related to the gambling behaviour of young people in Australia. Three surveys were developed and administered between August 2009 and May 2010. They included on-line; pencil and paper; and computer assisted telephone interviews (CATI). The CATI interviews were administered to young people in all Australian States and Territories.

The study found that overall 77% of young people have participated in a gambling activity at least once within the 12 month period preceding the study. Gambling frequency as reported by young people is not particularly high as very few young people reported that they participated in gambling activities on a daily or even weekly basis.

The study used the DSM-IV-MR-J (Fisher 2000) (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition Multiple response - adapted for juveniles) to classify young people according to gambling status. Overall 23% of young people did not gamble during the reporting period. Of the 77% who did gamble, 56% were classified as social gamblers, 16% classified as at-risk while 5% were classified as problem gamblers. According to gender, males were more likely to be problem gamblers and at-risk gamblers than females. Indigenous young people were 6.4 times more likely to be problem gamblers than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

The most common gambling activity across the sample (n=5,972) was the purchase of instant-prize tickets/scratch cards followed by lottery tickets and playing card games at home or in the homes of friends or relatives. The study has its limitations which included school resistance to participate in the study making it difficult to recruit from schools and difficulties in recruiting the non-school sample due to the expansion of mobile only households at a cost to the landline households. Overall the study presents a number of findings related to the gambling behaviour of young people in Australia and pays particular attention to those young people who can be classified as problem gamblers.

  • ERRATUM: please note page 67 of the report, Figure 4.6 has been updated (26 June 2012) to accurately reflect the percentages for 10 to 14 year olds as provided in Table 4.16 on page 67.