This paper provides an overview of how the focus of youth gambling research has evolved since the foundational work of the 1990s. Over the last two decades, research in youth gambling has advanced from having a principal focus on under-aged access to adult commercial activities to understanding the impact of gambling-like content in social media and gaming. The process of digital convergence and ‘gamblification’ has blurred the boundaries between activities, and the rise of gambling and gaming ecosystems. Research suggests that early exposure to gambling-like content (e.g. loot boxes or social casino games) may lead to a transition to commercial gambling. Here we provide an overview of current evidence, important technological developments and conceptual analyses; and, current directions in digital technology and their potential impact. The potential now exists for the merging of multiple classes of activity: gaming, gambling and speculative trading as a result of blockchain technology. The paper underscores the importance of the need for future studies to capture the breadth of gambling and gambling-like activities available to young people. It also indicates that pathways into gambling may arise within other population groups (e.g. gamers, digital asset investors) rather than from direct exposure to commercial gambling products.