OBJECTIVES: To establish the gambling prevalence among Swiss resident youths, to estimate the associations between gambling frequency and substance use, poor mental health and social support and to determine the correlation between gambling pattern and gambling frequency. METHODS: Cross-sectional population-based survey conducted in 2007. From 1233 eligible participants aged 15-24 years, adequate information was available for 1116 (582 males), distributed into: non- (n=577), occasional (n=388) and frequent gamblers (n=151). Outcome measures: Substance use, social activities, presence of a reliable person among friends or family, psychological distress, major depression and gambling pattern. RESULTS: Overall, the 48.3% (n=539) of youths who had gambled during the previous year; were older and more likely to be male than non-gamblers. 13.5% (n=151) gambled at least weekly and could be differentiated from occasional gamblers on the basis of their gambling pattern. After controlling for gender, age and language area, occasional gamblers were significantly more likely to be occasional binge drinkers, whereas frequent gamblers were more likely to be daily smokers. CONCLUSION: Almost half of Swiss resident youths are involved in gambling. Both occasional and frequent gambling are associated with further health compromising behaviour. Practitioners dealing with young people should be aware that gambling is a behaviour that might be part of a more global risky behaviour framework.