UK gambling addiction worse than expected

UK gambling addiction worse than expected

In a survey commissioned by the GambleAware charity, YouGov estimated that up to 2.7% of adults in the UK equating to 1.4 million people are problem gamblers. Experts urged caution over the figure, insisting that the actual rate is likely to be closer to the health survey figures of 0.7% cited by industry regulator the UKGC. 

The Findings

The number of problem gamblers which have been defined as scoring more than eight on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI)  may be significantly above current estimates. 16,000 people were questioned for the survey.

The report found that as many as 7% of adults report having been negatively affected by someone else’s gambling problem.

Overall, the research suggests that nearly 5 million British people have experienced harm linked to gambling, even accounting for the overlap between problem gamblers and those they affect.

Both GambleAware and the Gambling Commission said it was likely that YouGov’s findings overestimated the addiction rate, highlighting a review of the data by survey sampling expert Prof Patrick Sturgis.

What does this mean?

Sturgis, a former GambleAware trustee, said both the YouGov survey and the health survey figures were likely to contain flaws, with the true rate of problem gambling likely to be closer to the commonly used 0.7%. However, he suggests the higher figure could not be ruled out, adding that previous research had probably “somewhat underestimated” addiction levels.

The findings are likely to fuel calls for stronger measures to address gambling addiction, amid increased concern about the added risk posed to frequent gamblers isolated at home due to coronavirus.

 

The Government’s Take

Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who chairs a hybrid-party group of MPs examining gambling harm, said the report was “deeply concerning”.

“While the rate of 2.7% could well be an overestimate, the health survey data seems to be a significant underestimate. This new data suggests that addiction levels are far higher than has been previously thought.

“Policymakers, the regulator and gambling support services must take note of these important findings and ensure that the correct provision and regulation is in place to support gamblers in the UK.”

The Gambling Commission said the report had provided “invaluable additional information” about the gaps in current treatment provision across Great Britain. It pointed to £9m it had diverted towards treatment services, funded by penalties levied on gambling firms that breach the terms of their licence.

And that’s not it…

The report also found that nearly half of all addicts were not receiving treatment, with poorer people, women and those from a BAME background the worst affected.

A lack of awareness of services and the stigma associated with gambling problems were both noted as significant barriers to making the most of avenues of treatment and support

While women are less prone to developing a gambling addiction, those who do are three times more likely than men to refer to practical barriers such as cost, time or location as a reason for not accessing treatment or support.

Lenny’s Last Word

Being a subject close to Lenny’s heart, this came as quite a shock to those of us at SuperLenny HQ. As ever, we’ll keep a close eye on this story as it develops. We’re hoping Sturgis is correct and the figures are in fact, a little lower than YouGov’s survey suggests.

Visit our Responsible Gaming page for more information and support on gambling addiction, such as how to spot the signs, and where to go if you feel you need help.

 

 

Entain launches new UK affordability checks for more player protection

Entain launches new UK affordability checks for more player protection

19th April 2021

Entain has rolled out its UK affordability model as part of its Advanced Responsibility and Care initiative, a model which will be “raising the bar with personalised…

Isle of Man sees steep increase in license applications

Isle of Man sees steep increase in license applications

12th April 2021

The Isle of Man has seen a notable increase in interest in operating licenses from gambling companies across the globe. The island’s government puts this down to recent…

Intouch Games slapped with £3.4 million fine for multiple failings

Intouch Games slapped with £3.4 million fine for multiple failings

22nd March 2021

As part of the UKGC’s efforts to raise standards in the online gaming industry, Intouch Games was slapped with a huge fine amounting to £3.4 million, after…

GamCare Launches New Code of Conduct on Displaying Safer Gambling Messages

GamCare Launches New Code of Conduct on Displaying Safer Gambling Messages

10th March 2021

After consulting with the Betting and Gambling Council and having talked to service users, GamCare has launched a new Code for British gambling business to follow. The…

Flutter & Made by Sport team up to donate £4.79 Million to Clubs in Crisis Response Fund

Flutter & Made by Sport team up to donate £4.79 Million to Clubs in Crisis Response Fund

5th March 2021

Flutter Entertainment has joined forces with charity Made by Sport to create the 2021 Clubs in Crisis campaign, a campaign aimed at helping grassroots community clubs to…

Roadmap out of Lockdown: English Betting Shops to Open in April, Casinos in May

Roadmap out of Lockdown: English Betting Shops to Open in April, Casinos in May

26th February 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has recently unveiled plans for England’s roadmap out of lockdown, with betting shops earmarked to open in April and casinos, bingo halls,…