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Preventing gambling harms for Scotland's young people

From loss of sleep and mental health issues to poor performance at school, the impacts of youth gambling are certainly cause for concern. With a focus on education and early prevention, Fast Forward is creating tools and techniques to help reduce gambling harms for Scotland’s young people. Fast Forward’s Programme Manager, Fran Howard, explains more:

Gambling harm is an increasingly common risk-taking behaviour among young people.  With the lines between gaming and gambling style mechanics becoming more and more blurred young people are at risk of experiencing a myriad of hidden harm.  From loss of sleep, impact on mental health, poor attainment or performance at school, the resulting harms can often be mistakenly attributed to other things in their lives.

Research has shown that 26% of 11–17-year-olds have spent their own money on gambling in the last 12 months and that 48% of young people 11-17 have participated in gambling at some point in their lives.  This harm is not limited to an unlucky few but in fact should be a risk consideration for all children and young people.

Fast Forward’s Scottish Gambling Education Hub was formed to meet an increasing need in Scotland; to raise awareness of, and prevent gambling harms for Scotland’s young people, and any adult in their lives.

We recently released our 2024 Gambling Education Toolkit, our flagship resource to support anyone who works with children, young people and families to incorporate gambling harm and prevention into their work.

It provides information and resources to support anyone to address youth gambling and gambling harms, and the connection between gambling and gaming.  It is designed to be used in universal or targeted education settings by promoting an engaging and interactive approach.  We have provided a range of activities and session plans that can be adapted for both formal and informal settings, a diverse range of ages, objectives, skills and competencies.

The materials have a strong focus on promoting awareness-raising, prevention and education.  We encourage anyone working with young people, families and communities to consider using the toolkit as it offers valuable support on the topic.  Content can be selected to provide initial support, early-intervention and harm reduction for young people and families that might already be engaging in gambling activities, as well as those who do not currently participate.  We encourage anyone working with young people, families and communities to consider using the toolkit as it offers valuable support on the topic, as well as signposting to organisations that can help with harm.

In this edition, we delve more into emerging trends around gambling such as the rise in cryptocurrency and address evidence of legacy on harm on individuals, communities and future generations.

We have some new activities around the cost of living and gambling harm (click here for more), how the gambling industry create psychologically informed environments (click here for more) to encourage continued gambling and an activity to help young people uncover harm reduction techniques to keep them safe.

We would love to hear from you if you decide to use our toolkit.  Any feedback is always appreciated! If you want to take your knowledge further we provide free workshops for young people, families and practitioners.  If you have any questions, please get in touch with myself at

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About the Author

Fran Howard is Programme Manager at Fast Forward

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