Problem gambling in the UK stable

News on 7 Sep 2018

The UK Gambling Commission released the results of a 2016 study on UK gambling compiled for its Health Survey Thursday, noting that the incidence of problem gambling remained stable at 1.2 percent of punters, equating to a national rate of just 0.07 percent.

The rate was the same as that in 2012 and 2015 studies for the same report, presenting factual evidence contradicting some mainstream media reports claiming that the incidence of problem gambling has soared.

The report also notes that there was a further year-on-year decline in gambling participation numbers at 57 percent – a reduction of 6 percent on the 2015 equivalent number and 8 percent lower than that recorded in 2012.

The overall online gambling participation rate also showed a reduction, albeit just 1 percent, from 2015 with a 2016 participation of 9 percent.

Online sports betting bucked the trend and was up 1 percent at 8 percent compared to 2015, but online casino and bingo participation fell a point to 3 percent.

Betting exchange participation was stable at 1 percent.

If National Lottery participation numbers are taken out of the calculation, gambling participation in the UK was down to 42 percent in 2016.

Commission executive director Tim Miller said Thursday that understanding the level of problem gambling is an important part of making gambling safer.

“That is why, together with our expert advisers the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB), we recently published a ground-breaking approach to understanding the full range of harms gambling can have on society,” he said. “The Health Survey, along with all of our evidence and data, indicates that the problem gambling rate in Great Britain is stable.

“However, we want to see a sustained and significant reduction in the levels of problem gambling and will continue to drive the industry to build momentum towards this goal.”

Other highlights from the study showed that:

* The most active age group for gambling was 25 to 34 years, with males participating more than females;

* Problem gamblers were far more likely to show symptoms of general mental ill health (2.2 percent) than those with less than optimal mental health (0.6 percent) or no evidence of mental problems (0.2 percent);

* The UK National Lottery remains the most popular form of gambling, with 41 percent of people having taken part in at least one draw, followed by scratchcards on 21 percent and other lotteries with 14 percent;

* Gamblers who consumed larger quantities of alcohol were more likely to have gambling problems (0.8 percent) than non-drinkers (0.3 percent).

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