A YouGov survey commissioned by the Industry Group For Responsible Gambling and published ahead of Responsible Gambling Week has questioned more than 2,000 adults about their gambling habits over the last 12 months.

Reporting its findings, only ten per cent of those surveyed considered themselves to be gamblers despite one in two buying lottery tickets, one in three purchasing scratch cards and nearly one in five betting on sporting events.

YouGov and the IGRG also highlights a perceived distinction people make between softer forms of gambling, which many do not regard as gambling at all, and so-called harder gambling, which they believe may not apply to them.

Playing machine games in arcades was not viewed as gambling by 42 per cent of those questioned, with 40 per cent stating playing in a bingo club does not constitute gambling, nor does playing the lottery (33 per cent) or buying scratch cards (29 per cent). 

The poll also reported that customers expect to receive information about safer gambling from operators, with 35 per cent saying they would find it most useful to be given information when they register to play or begin playing.

In addition, 25 per cent want information to be signposted while playing and 20 per cent say it would would be most useful to be contacted directly by operators by email or telephone, 15 per cent of customers however believe receiving information from family or friends would be most beneficial.

Further findings saw 77 per cent of people believe they have enough information to gamble safely and responsibly, but strong support remains for a public education campaign to promote safe gambling. 

Six out of ten (59 per cent) believe it is as important, or more important, than a campaign to promote responsible drinking; or active lifestyles (55 per cent), a smoke-free environment (55 per cent), safe sex (54 per cent) and healthy eating (53 per cent). More than half (53 per cent) are said to be unaware of a campaign to promote safer gambling.

The poll also gave an insight into the safer gambling messages people found most relevant to them:

  • Only spend what you can afford – 55 per cent
  • Set your limits – 40 per cent
  • Never chase your losses – 39 per cent
  • Gambling is not the answer to any problem – 36 per cent
  • Gambling shouldn’t interfere with personal relationships – 32 per cent
  • Gambling when angry or upset is not a good idea – 30 per cent

John Hagan, chair of the IGRG, explained: “This research highlights the importance of educating everyone about the importance of safer gambling, including those who think the messages do not apply to them. 

“Every problem gambler is someone who once thought they didn’t have a problem. Most people gamble responsibly and purely for enjoyment, but we want safer gambling messages, such as setting time limits or spending limits, to become as instinctive as putting on a seatbelt when you get into your car.

“Promoting safer gambling is a year-round responsibility, which operators and their staff take very seriously. The poll shows there is strong support for a public education campaign and the objective of Responsible Gambling Week is to educate people about safer gambling, but the campaign is just one aspect of the work being done by the industry throughout the year to protect its customers”.