The UK Gambling Commission has revealed that the overall problem gambling rate has remained “statistically stable” at 0.2 per cent in the year to December 2022, compared to 0.3 per cent recorded one year earlier.
In the latest data set released by the regulator, the low risk rate followed suit after recording 1.7 per cent (2021: 1.9 per cent), while the moderate figure saw a “significant increase” to 1.3 per cent (2021: 0.8 per cent)
Following the publication, the Betting and Gaming Council has suggested that this demonstrates “further evidence of the positive progress we have made on safer gambling”.
In addition, the industry body also noted these aforementioned figures also “underline our urgent calls for ministers to take a genuinely evidence-based approach to the upcoming white paper.”
Michael Dugher, BGC Chief Executive, explained: “These figures showing that problem gambling has fallen once again will no doubt come as a profound disappointment to anti-gambling prohibitionists, who like to vastly overstate the issue.
“Their alarmist demands are not backed up by the evidence. We want big changes, but they must be focussed on this small minority who are vulnerable to harm – not the vast majority who bet safely and responsibly. We need a risk based approach which helps the vulnerable, not ruins the experience for the responsible majority.
“Just under half of all UK adults enjoy a bet each month and it is clear once again that the overwhelming majority to so perfectly safely and responsibly. However, our work to raise standards across the regulated industry will continue, to keep up the momentum and build on the progress we have made in recent years.”
This survey, commissioned by the regulator and undertaken by Yonder Consulting, saw a sample of 4,001 adults aged 16 and over be interviewed via telephone in March, June, September and December 2022.
“The regulated betting and gaming industry is determined to promote safer gambling, unlike the unsafe, unregulated and growing online black market, which has none of the safeguards which are the norm among BGC members,” Dugher continued.
“Ministers should not drive customers into the arms of the black market by introducing blanket low level intrusive affordability checks for all punters but rather use technology to target those at risk.
“We welcome these figures but refuse to be complacent. Our mission to drive up standards continues.”
Further figures released by the UKGC also highlighted that overall participation in any gambling activity during the past four week period stood at 44.4 per cent (2021: 42.6 per cent).
“Despite showing signs of recovery, participation rates haven’t yet returned to pre-COVID-19 levels,” the UKGC noted.
On an in-person basis, an increase to 27.5 per cent (2021: 24.5 per cent) was tracked, driven by an increase in males, from 23.5 per cent to 29 per cent, and individuals aged 25-34, which closed at 26.4 per cent (2021: 19.3 per cent).
When looking at data for online gambling participation, an increase to 26.9 per cent (2021: 25.3 per cent) was recorded year-on-year.
Data for males and females each increased to 29.6 per cent (2021: 27.7 per cent) and 24.3 per cent (2021: 23.1 per cent), respectively, with 25-34 year-olds up significantly once again to 29.1 per cent (2021: 23.7 per cent).
“The data also shows that participation rates appear to be bouncing back after the pandemic for activities such as fruit and slots machines, virtual gaming machines in bookmakers, dog races, virtual dog and horse races and casino games,” the UKGC noted.