UK Gambling Commission Report Shows Problem Gambling Remains Low

UKGC UK gambling stats reports.

Gambling participation rates in the UK fall while the issue of problem gambling remains low. (Image: world-exchanges.org)

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has released a report into the nation’s gambling habits for the first time and that stats reveal some surprising insights.

Using data from the past 12 months and comparing it to statistics from previous years, the UKGC found that gambling participation in the UK has dropped by 57 percent (2012) to 45 percent (2015).

However, while that might seem like bad news for the industry, the decline has been largely attributed to the drop in lottery participation.

Although still the most popular gambling activity in the UK, participation rates fell from 46% to 32% over the three year period and that’s caused an overall decline in British gambling activity.

Online Gambling a Static Activity

Beyond its review of the live gambling world, the UKGC surveyed 8,000 online gamblers to get an insight into their betting habits. Of those surveyed, 97% stated that they did the majority of their betting at home.

What’s even more interesting is that the UKGC’s data seems to contradict the assumption that more people are now betting via their mobile devices. Although largely based on gut feeling, many industry insiders have asserted that mobile betting is now the default method for a lot of gamblers.

However, according to the UKGC’s data, 61% of those surveyed still use a laptop as their primary gambling device while 23% use their phone and 16% use a tablet.

Of course, these figures are certainly different to what they would have been five years ago; however, it seems to suggest that mobile betting isn’t as big of a factor as some may have assumed.

The other interesting online statistic is that the average number of accounts held by players is 3.5, which suggests that most gamblers like to spread their investment in order to get the best deals.

Problem Gambling Not an Issue

One stat of particular note is the rate of problem gambling in the UK. Despite anti-gambling advocates bombarding the media with claims that problem gambling is out of control (i.e. see our recent story on problem gamblers being treated using drugs), the UKGC has reported that the 0.5% rate remained static between 2014 and 2015.

Although the NHS suggests that there could be as many as 593,000 problem gamblers in the UK, evidence from the UKGC that this figure isn’t increasing would suggest that betting companies are starting to manage the problem.

Commenting on the recent report, the UKGC’s programme director, Paul Hope, explained that compiling data was part of its overall commitment to making the UK a leader in gambling regulation.

“It’s vital that we monitor gambling trends and behaviour across society. Reports such as these are essential for us when developing regulations and for the Government when developing public policies on gambling,” said Hope.

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