Following new research published by the Gambling Commission last week, the regulator has called for a renewed focus on addressing the harms that can arise from problem gambling.
The report provides, for the first time since 2010, a comprehensive analysis(1) of gambling across all nations of Great Britain – examining the rates of participation, at-risk gambling and problem gambling, and explores the associated characteristics and behaviours.
Tim Miller, Commission executive director, says: “For many, gambling is an enjoyable leisure activity. But for some people gambling can become a problem with serious consequences for them, their families and their communities.
“Whilst overall problem gambling rates in Britain have remained statistically stable, our research suggests that in excess of two million people are at-risk or classed as problem gamblers, with very many more impacted by the wider consequences of gambling-related harm.”
Tim adds: “We have a clear commitment to make gambling fairer and safer and these figures show that this is a significant challenge. Success will depend upon us, the industry, government and others, all working together with a shared purpose to protect consumers. The pace of change to date simply hasn’t been fast enough – more needs to be done to address problem gambling.”
Sir Chris Kelly, Chairman of the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board – the Commission’s expert advisor for research, education and treatment – said: “These new findings show that gambling continues to cause harm to a significant number of people in Great Britain. They underline the importance of the National Responsible Gambling Strategy being pursued with vigour by everyone with a role to play in its delivery.
“The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board’s published assessment of progress with the first year of the Strategy identified a number of priority actions where more can and should be done. Gambling operators have a responsibility for leading a large part of this agenda and need to demonstrate they are making a positive impact through their work to protect customers and promote safe play.”
- 1.4% of gamblers were classed as problem gamblers (0.8% of the population), with 6.4% at-risk (3.9% of the population) – which is similar to the rate published in the 2012 report.
- Problem gambling was more prevalent among people who had participated in a multiple gambling activities in the past year, than those that had just participated in one.
- 63% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Great Britain had gambled in the past year.
- Men (66%) are more likely to gambling than women (59%).
- Most popular gambling activities were: National Lottery draws (46%), scratchcards (23%) and other lotteries (15%).
- Overall participation was highest among the middle age groups and lowest among the youngest and oldest age groups.
- Those in employment or training were more likely to gamble (69%). Participation by those unemployed was at 56% and 57% for those retired.
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