The UK Gambling Commission’s Gambling Prevalence Study has been published today on Wednesday 19th September 2007.
The report has found that we as a nation are no more addicted to gambling as we were in 1999 when the last report took place.
The Gambling Commission’s survey has covered 17 different types of gambling from online gambling, betting shops and The National Lottery. It contrasts with ten different types of gambling which were covered in 1999.
The British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007 carried out by The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), has questioned 9003 people between September 2006 and March 2007 on attitudes to gambling, the popularity of gambling and the curse of problem gambling.
With the rise of online gambling it was predicted the number of problem gamblers would increase but this has proved not to be the case. There are 250, 000 problem gamblers in Britain or 0.6% of the population, approximately the same as in 1999.
The research challenges recent press reports that claimed the number of problem gamblers was nearly 1 million.
Problem gamblers are described as people who gamble “to a degree that compromises, disrupts or damages family, personal or recreational pursuits.”
Gambling charity GamCare were quick to respond to the survey by saying, “We are delighted to see that the combined efforts of GamCare and the gaming industry, with its heightened commitment to the practises of social responsibility, has led to no increase in the number of problem gamblers in the UK. Operators have made, and have indicated that they will continue to make, concerted efforts to raise the awareness of the services provided by GamCare for those individuals who get into difficulty from gambling, including the decision to carry the GamCare helpline number in their advertising.”
The report found that 32 million people took part in some form of gambling over the last year. The figure is down on 1999 when 33 million people took part in gambling. This drop was explained by the falling popularity of The National Lottery.
The UK Gambling Prevalence Survey also indicated that the rise in online betting websites and casinos which has taken place over the last eight years hasn’t led to a big increase in the number of gamblers in the UK.
It found that only 6% of the population used online betting sites despite the popularity and expansion of the industry.
Peter Dean Chairman of The Gambling Commission said, “The key message is that overall there has been surprisingly little change either in the number of gambling participants or to the number of problem gamblers since 1999.”
“We remain concerned that there are still over a quarter of a million adults who are problem gamblers. The challenge, for us and the industry, is to tackle this through the new licensing regime that has been put in place from 1st September. British-based gambling operators must now comply with strict and detailed social responsibility obligations, and we will monitor how these requirements are met.”
“This survey gives us a benchmark for the future. It also provides a mass of useful data which we and the authors will be analysing further.”
“The survey will be repeated in 2009/2010 and we shall then be able to assess the effects of the changes brought about by the new Gambling Act and the measures we have put in place.”
The impact of regional “super” casinos was not measured in the report. The Gambling Commission confirmed that this was to be carried out in another report by the government.