A quarter of gamblers have increased their habit over the last year, with those aged under 35 three times as likely to be spending more, according to research.
Almost half (46%) of all under-35s are now gamblers, with one in three of them (30%) admitting their habit has increased over the last 12 months, according to the Health, Wealth and Happiness Index by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for life insurance broker LifeSearch.
Just under a third (32%) of all Britons gamble, and 23% say they have increased their habit over the past year.
On average, under 35s who gamble spend £43 a month but one in six (22%) spend more than £75 a month.
One in 12 (8%) spend more than £100, costing them at least £1,200 a year, the survey found.
Public Health England estimates 0.5% of the adult population have a problem with gambling, 3.8% are gambling at at-risk levels, and 7% are affected negatively by other people’s gambling.
The highest earning Britons are more likely to gamble in the first place and are also more likely to have increased their habit and spend more on it.
On average, 58% of people with a household income of £100,000 a year or more gamble, and of those 45% have increased the amount they gamble over the past year.
In comparison, 32% of people with a household income of between £20,000 and £30,000 gamble, and of those 16% have increased their habit.
LifeSearch chief executive Debbie Kennedy said: “Inflation is at record highs, with our Health, Wealth and Happiness Index revealing that 72% of all Britons expect to be worse off by an average of £3,000 a year as a result.
“Most people have had to adjust their spending to cope with the soaring cost of living, with many feeling they have cut back so much that they have run out of options.
“That is perhaps why – in desperation – many are turning to gambling to find a ‘quick fix’, with younger people most at risk; under 35s are more likely to gamble in the first place, more likely to have upped their habit in the past year and spend more than other age groups.
“This is a very worrying trend because while gambling may be seen as a magic solution, it is much more likely to make a financial situation worse.”
The Health, Wealth and Happiness Index was compiled and updated by Cebr for LifeSearch in April.