Survey results shed light on gambling in the UK

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The UK Gambling Commission published the results of its annual independent report - The British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010 (BGPS 2010) - this week. The aims of the BGPS 2010 are to provide data on participation in all forms of gambling in Great Britain, the prevalence of problem gambling, attitudes to gambling and to explore a range of associations with gambling behaviour.

This is the third nationally representative survey of its kind; previous studies were conducted in 2007 and 1999.

A summary of the results shows:

Overall, 73% of the adult population (aged 16 and over) participated in some form of gambling in the past year. This equates to around 35.5 million adults. This represents a return to rates observed in 1999 (72%) and an increase from the rate observed in 2007 (68%).

As noted in previous years, the most popular gambling activity was the National Lottery.

Excluding those who had only gambled on the National Lottery Draw, 56% of adults participated in some other form of gambling in the past year. Comparable estimates for 1999 and 2007 were 46% and 48%, respectively. This highlights a significant increase in past year participation on other gambling activities, such as an increase in betting on other events i.e., events other than horse races or dog races with a bookmaker (3% in 1999, 9% in 2010), buying scratchcards (20% in 2007, 24% in 2010), buying other lotteries tickets (8% in 1999, 25% in 2010), gambling online on poker, bingo, casino and slot machine style games (3% in 2007, 5% in 2010) and gambling on fixed odds betting terminals (3% in 2007, 4% in 2010).

In 2010, after the National Lottery, the most popular gambling activities were other lotteries (25%), scratchcards (24%), betting on horse races (16%), playing slot machines (13%) and private betting (11%).

Overall, 14% of adults had used the internet to gamble in the past year. This included buying lottery tickets online, betting online, playing casino games, bingo or other slot machines style games and playing the football pools online.

17% of past year gamblers had gambled both online and in-person. Only 2% of past year gamblers had gambled ‘online only’.

Two activities stood out as having a relatively high proportion of online activity; casino games and betting on other sports events.

39% of gamers had played casino games online.

27% of past year sports bettors reported that they placed their bet online.

Men were more likely than women to gamble overall (75% for men and 71% for women).

Men were more likely than women to take part in most gambling activities. The exceptions were bingo (12% for women and 6% for men) and scratchcards (25% for women and 23% for men).

Among women, past year gambling increased from 65% in 2007 and 68% in 1999 to 71% in 2010. Among men, past year gambling estimates were higher in 2010 than 2007 (75% and 71% respectively). However, the 2010 prevalence rates were not higher than those observed in 1999 (76%).

Past year gambling participation was lowest among the youngest and oldest age groups and highest among those aged 44-64.

Asides from football pools and the national lottery, there were five other activities which were undertaken at least once a month by half or more of all participants, these were: bingo played in person (54%), casino games played on line (53%), spreadbetting (53%), fixed odd betting terminals (52%), poker at a pub/club (50%).

The measures of problem gambling in the report also show an increase in the number of problem gamblers in Britain, though the authors note it is not possible to say whether this represents an upward trend or a temporary fluctuation.

The proportions increased from 0.5% of the adult population in 2007 to 0.7% in 2010 (which is not statistically significant) on one measure and from 0.6% in 2007 to 0.9% in 2010 (which is at the margins of statistical significance) on the other measure used.

These rates are similar to those in other European countries (Germany, Norway and Switzerland) where this has been measured and are lower than countries such as the USA, Australia and South Africa.

The majority of past year gamblers reported that they gambled for the chance of winning big money (83%), because it’s fun (78%), to make money (59%) and because it’s exciting (51%).

Comparisons with 2007 show that overall attitudes to gambling in 2010 have become more positive. Although the overall viewpoint is still somewhat negative, it is less negative than previously; indicating that attitudes are changing.

The full report can be viewed at

Source: InfoPowa News