UK Gambling Prevalence Study: Key Points

As the Gambling Commission released their much-anticipated Gambling Prevalence Study, the results surprised a few people. Indeed, most of it was welcoming news for gambling companies who had feared much worse results.

The survey set out to measure participation in all forms of gambling in the UK, the level of problem gambling, socio-demographic factors that affect gambling and problem gambling and attitudes towards gambling.

Here are the key points from the survey:

Gambling Participation

  • 68% (32 million adults) of the population participated in some form of gambling in the past year. Down 4% compared to 1999.

  • Excluding the national lottery, 48% (23 million adults) participated in another form of gambling in the past year. Up 2% from 1999.

  • Most popular from of gambling was the National Lottery (57% of the population had participated in the past year). Down 8% compared to 1999.

  • As well as the drop in participation of the National Lottery, a further two gambling activities showed a reduction in participation compared to 1999; Football pools participation was down from 9% to 3% and scratchcards were down from 22% to 20%.

  • Only 3% of the people surveyed gambled online at online casino or poker rooms.

  • 4% of people placed bets with a bookmaker on the internet.

  • 4% of people gambled in a bricks and mortar casino.

Socio-demographic results

  • 71% of men gambled in the last year, compared to 65% of women.

  • Bingo still remains a game predominantly played by women (10%) rather than men (4%).

  • Those from higher-income households were more likely to gamble. 72% of those from higher-income households gambled in the past year, compared to 61% of those from lower-income households.

  • People with a higher level of education were less likely to gamble (61%) compared to those with a lower level of education (73%)

Problem Gambling

  • 0.6% of the population are problem gamblers – around 284,000 people of the adult population. This is the same level as it was in 1999.

  • However, excluding those who only played the national lottery, the level of problem gambling has increased to 1.3%.

  • Young males were more likely to be problem gamblers.

  • People were more likely to be a problem gambler if one of their parents was/is a problem gambler.

  • Problem Gambling was associated with being Asian/Asian British or Black/Black British.

  • It was also associated with being separated/divorced, being younger than 55 and having fewer educational qualifications.

  • The highest levels of problem gambling are found in those who participate in spread-betting (14.7%), fixed odds betting terminals (11.2%) and betting exchanges (9.8%).

  • Compared to other countries, problem gambling in the UK is roughly mid-table. The levels in the UK are similar to those in Canada, New Zealand and Sweden but lower than those in Australia, South Africa and the United States.

Attitudes to gambling

  • According to a measuring scale developed for the survey, the attitude to gambling was more negative than positive.

  • People generally thought that they had a right to gamble and reject total prohibition of gambling.

  • People who showed a positive attitude to gambling tended to be under 35; heavy drinkers; and those who participated in more than four different forms of gambling in the last year.

  • The least favourable attitudes to gambling were shown by those who were over 55; widowed; those describing themselves as Asian or Asian British or another ethnic group; non-gamblers; and those who are close to a problem gambler.

Read the full, in-depth report here.  

Editor, - 2007-09-20 12:32:41

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