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More than 50% UK Adults Gamble, a New NHS Survey Shows

- December 4, 2019 By Oliver Young -

The situation with gambling in the UK keeps on getting more and more heated. Authorities in the UK do their best to prevent gambling harms, surveys are being undertaken to measure the extent of gamblers and the percentages of problem gamblers, and still, the numbers are always different.

A new Health Survey of England survey shows that more than 50% of adults in the UK gamble, one way or another. This percentage is concerning, but it’s more concerning that players aged 16 to 24 are problem gamblers.

NHS has conducted a new survey on UK players' participation in online gambling and the number of problem gamblers in the country.

NHS has conducted a new survey on UK players’ participation in online gambling and the number of problem gamblers in the country.

Half of the UK Population Gambles

There are only days until the UK General Election. All three major parties have vowed to review the 2005 Gambling Act and implement tougher measures to control gambling and prevent gambling-related harms. Therefore, the recently published survey results appeared in the worst possible time.

A survey by the National Health Service further fuelled the concerns about the health and wellbeing of British adults, since the results showed that more than half of the population gambles. Simon Stevens, the CEO of the National Health Service explained that too many British people were being affected by the aggressive advertising and targeting practices of gambling operators, suggesting that the Government should take further action to treat addiction.

The 2018 Health Survey of England showed that 53% of UK players aged 16 to 24 spent a significant amount of money on gambling. This percentage includes the National Lottery gambling. The National Lottery excluded, the numbers drop to 39%.

8% of respondents claimed to have bet online with a bookmaker, and 3% to have played online slots, bingo or casino games. 13% of men and 3% of women were placing sports bets, while 4% of men and 2% of women were wagering on online slots. These figures show that the £2 stake cut on online slot machines suggested by the UK MPs was not as necessary as the restrictions on sports betting are.

Problem Gamblers Percentage Declined

The most concerning fact that came out of the survey is that those most likely to be categorized as gambling addicts or problem gamblers were players from the age group 16 to 24. However, the overall problem rate was 0.5%, with slightly more men than women making this number.

According to DSM-IV parameters, 0.7% of men and 0.3% of women were problem gamblers. Based on the Problem Gambling Severity Index 0.21% of men and only 0.1% were marked as problem gamblers. Summing the results from the DSM-IV and the PGSI, the 0.5% rate of problem gamblers exists, showing a significant decline compared to the 2016 figures.

NHS’s CEO blames the convenience and easy accessibility to online gambling for the occurrence of problem gambling. Stevens said that the latest statistics were an important reminder of how much people in the UK were gambling, how affected they were by it, and how easy it was to get hooked on gambling. Instead of investing in aggressive targeting and marketing campaigns, Steven suggested that it was about time for online gambling operators to invest more efforts to become more responsible when it comes to protecting the vulnerable and those prone to gambling-related harms. He added that the NHS has expanded its services to help those in need, those suffering from problem gambling.

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