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Overall gambling participation

43% of adults (16+) said they had participated in at least one form of gambling in the previous four weeks (42% in year to Dec 2020). A slightly larger proportion of those aged 45-54 (51%) and 55-64 (50%) had participated in any form of gambling. Similarly, to the previous year, those in the youngest age group (16-24) had the lowest level of gambling participation (32% in year to Dec 2021). Looking at the data across the five-year period, shows there hasn’t been a return to pre-Covid participation rates, illustrating the long term impact of the pandemic.

Figure 1

Proportion of respondents participating in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks, by gender and age.

 Figure 1 shows the proportion of respondents participating in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks, by gender and age

Data from chart

Proportion of respondents participating in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks
All respondents
Year to Dec 2017 44.8%
Year to Dec 2018 45.8%
Year to Dec 2019 47.2%
Year to Dec 2020 42.0%
Year to Dec 2021 42.6%
Significant 2020-2021 No
Proportion of respondents participating in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks by gender
Gender Male Female
Year to Dec 2017 48.4% 41.4%
Year to Dec 2018 50.8% 40.9%
Year to Dec 2019 51.0% 43.5%
Year to Dec 2020 44.5% 39.6%
Year to Dec 2021 43.6% 41.6%
Significant 2020-2021 No No
Proportion of respondents participating in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks by age
Age 16-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
Year to Dec 2017 35.0% 47.7% 43.2% 47.8% 50.3% 44.6%
Year to Dec 2018 36.1% 45.9% 43.9% 52.3% 55.0% 42.2%
Year to Dec 2019 40.4% 48.7% 50.5% 52.8% 48.4% 41.9%
Year to Dec 2020 31.2% 39.0% 45.8% 48.4% 46.5% 39.1%
Year to Dec 2021 32.2% 37.2% 42.8% 51.1% 49.7% 40.0%
Significant 2020-2021 No No No No No No

Statistically significant change from Year to December 2020 at the 95% level

As participation in National Lottery draws is so much higher than for other gambling activities, changes in National Lottery participation can have a noticeable impact on overall participation rates. It is therefore useful to remove the responses of those who have only participated in National Lottery draws. When respondents who have only taken part in National Lottery draws are excluded, the overall participation rate for year to Dec 2021 sits at 29%, which is stable compared to year to Dec 2020 but lower than the participation rates we saw pre-Covid.

Figure 2

Proportion of respondents participating in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks, by gender and age excluding those only playing National Lottery draw products, by gender and age.

Figure 2 shows the proportion of respondents participating in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks, by gender and age excluding those only playing National Lottery draw products, by gender and age

Data from chart

Proportion of respondents participating in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks, excluding those only playing National Lottery draw products
All respondents
Year to Dec 2017 31.1%
Year to Dec 2018 32.1%
Year to Dec 2019 32.5%
Year to Dec 2020 28.2%
Year to Dec 2021 28.6%
Significant 2020-2021†† No
Proportion of respondents participating in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks, excluding those only playing National Lottery draw products by gender
Gender Male Female
Year to Dec 2017 33.7% 28.5%
Year to Dec 2018 36.9% 27.5%
Year to Dec 2019 35.6% 29.5%
Year to Dec 2020 29.8% 26.7%
Year to Dec 2021 28.2% 29.1%
Significant 2020-2021†† No No
Proportion of respondents participating in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks, excluding those only playing National Lottery draw products by age
Age 16-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
Year to Dec 2017 32.4% 37.8% 29.1% 28.6% 30.4% 28.8%
Year to Dec 2018 34.6% 39.6% 32.2% 32.1% 32.0% 24.5%
Year to Dec 2019 38.2% 40.5% 35.3% 32.0% 27.2% 25.5%
Year to Dec 2020 30.0 29.5% 29.3% 31.0% 26.8% 24.4%
Year to Dec 2021 28.9% 31.5% 27.4% 30.9% 29.0% 25.3%
Significant 2020-2021†† No No No No No No

†† Statistically significant change from Year to December 2020 at the 95% level

In year to Dec 2021, participation in many activities was stable. The most popular gambling activities remained National Lottery draws (26%), followed by other lotteries (13%) and scratchcards (7%).

Despite National Lottery draws and scratchcards being popular gambling activities for year to Dec 2021, a significant fall in participation was seen for the National Lottery Lotto draw and for National Lottery branded scratchcards. The closure of retail outlets throughout the pandemic is likely to have contributed towards the reduction in scratchcard play as players moved their play online.

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Gambling behaviour 2021 - Findings from the quarterly telephone survey
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In person gambling participation
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