GamCare: The pandemic’s impact on gambling is still ‘unclear’

GamCare responded to the UKGC's quarterly survey which showed online gambling participation rate increased by three per cent in July 2021.

The online gambling participation rate increased by three per cent in July 2021 compared to the previous year, whilst in-person participation is down eight per cent points to 34 per cent as revealed by new data released by the UK Gambling Commission.

The findings are based on the regulator’s quarterly telephone survey conducted by Yonder Consulting. A nationally representative sample of 4,010 adults aged 16 and over were interviewed via telephone in September 2020, December 2020, March 2021 and June 2021.

The majority of the data for the year to June 2021 was collected during some element of lockdown or restricted activity level. 

Responding to the new statistics, Anna Hemmings, chief executive at GamCare, emphasised that the impact from the pandemic is ‘yet unclear’ as to whether it will be short-term or long. 

She said: “Online gambling is a growing issue for callers to the National Gambling Helpline and we want people to know we are here for them and can help.  

“The majority of people contacting us are gambling online and our helpline and treatment data shows this to be an area of concern for us and people that use our services. We know that people recovering from gambling harms can find it difficult to enjoy live sport. 

“Today’s figures do not cover the most recent Euro’s tournament, so we will continue to monitor for a potential rise in callers over the next few months, with many upcoming sports events over the summer and the reopening of betting shops and casinos, coupled with the difficulties people have experienced in the pandemic.

“We urge anyone who is struggling with gambling to contact us, whether it’s their own or someone else’s gambling. We understand, please get in touch.”

Moreover, the report revealed that overall participation in any gambling activity in the last four weeks has fallen to 42 per cent – a 3.5 per cent point decline compared to June 2020.

In addition, the overall problem gambling rate is ‘statistically stable’ at 0.4 per cent whilst moderate risk rate has decreased significantly to 0.7 per cent compared to 1.4 per cent in June 2020.