A new study has estimated as many as 25,600 Victorian adolescents could be gambling, despite being underage.
The research from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation revealed children and teens from 12-17 found 31 per cent of kids in the study had gambled at some point in the past.
Six per cent had gambled in the past 30 days.
The study estimates students could be spending $2.9 million a year gambling.
The foundation’s CEO, Shane Lucas, said there was also a link between students who had reported a mental health condition more likely to have gambled in the previous month.
“The study confirms a relationship between the respondents’ gambling behaviour and socio-economic disadvantage, social influences, exposure to gambling environments and advertising,” he said.
“Across all students who completed the survey, TV ads were by far the most frequently reported type of gambling promotions they had seen, at 73 per cent, followed by 38 per cent on social media.
“Significantly, 62 per cent of students who had gambled in the previous month reported they had seen four or more types of gambling advertising during the same period.”
The research, lead by the University of Newcastle, analysed responses to a series of gambling-related questions from the Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey in 2017.
A total of 3,746 Victorian students answered the questions, in which gambling was defined as ‘when you pay in your own money knowing that you could lose all of it or, possibly, win back even more than you paid in’.
The research also found 54 per cent of adolescents had bet on horse or dog races, 38 per cent on sport.