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“BlindGame”: The online gambling activities of Portuguese young people

Ana Rita Farias, Universidade Lusófona, HEI-Lab: Laboratórios Digitais de Ambientes e Interações Humanas; Ana Cristina Antunes, Escola Superior de Comunicação Social (ESCS), Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa;
Project selected in the call to support research projects on the social reality of young people (FP22-1B

Gambling (or games of chance) has gained a strong following and grown in popularity among the Portuguese population. Although player profiles and prevalence in the population are already known, recent evolutions and numerous offers and cash bet modalities on digital platforms have been reshaping behaviours and attracting new followers. As this is a recent and changing reality, online gambling behaviours are not yet properly mapped within the Portuguese context. In this sense, this study aimed to examine this phenomenon, based on a sample of 2,028 young people aged between 15 and 34 years, residing in Portugal. The results indicate a significant prevalence of these behaviours, which are dependent on gender and age. Indeed, the prevalence decreases as age increases, with men adhering to and engaging more in these online gambling games, whereas women tend more towards gambling offline. The frequency with which these young people bet money online tends to be low to moderate, their spending is mostly controlled, and sports-based bets are the most popular kind. Even so, the mapping carried out suggests that there are reasons for concern for parents, educators, and public decision-makers.
Key points
  • 1
       There is a significant prevalence of gambling-related behaviours among Portuguese young people: 68% of the sample claim to have already bet money on some form of gambling, with 93% of them answering that they had already done so offline and 42% online.
  • 2
       The results show differences in participation in offline and online gambling according to gender and age group. Women prefer to bet money offline, whereas men are more inclined to bet online. Participants aged between 25 and 34 years bet more offline, while those aged from 15 to 24, display greater online engagement.
  • 3
       Most survey respondents display a low-to-moderate frequency of online gambling; however, a considerable percentage (33.9%) have already engaged in this type of activity on 41 or more occasions during their life.
  • 4
       The majority of online betters (59%) spend 20 euros or less per month. Meanwhile, a small percentage (7.3%) spend more than 101 euros per month and 1.8% spend 250 euros or more.
  • 5
       Sporting bets are the most frequent among online betters.

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