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A look at gambling behaviours among Black and Minority Ethnic Communities

Posted 18 October 2021 by Communications


This month, we’ve taken the opportunity to delve into the results of our quarterly telephone survey from 2020 to see how gambling behaviours differ (if at all) amongst Black and Minority Ethnic Communities (BAME), compared to the overall population.

BAME research blog

During 2020, we spoke to a nationally representative sample of 4,000 adults aged 16 and over across Great Britain, including 473 interviews with respondents from BAME communities.

Pulling out and analysing responses from BAME communities, we identified some interesting information regarding gambling participation, risk of experiencing harm and gambling habits that we have summarised below.

Rates of gambling among Black and Minority Ethnic Communities

The first noticeable difference when comparing the responses from BAME respondents to the overall sample, was that BAME respondents were much less likely to gamble. Amongst all respondents in our study, around four out of ten (42%) had gambled in the last four weeks, whereas the participation rate amongst BAME respondents was less than three in ten (27%).

The National Lottery was the most popular activity amongst all gamblers, whether from a BAME community or not. However, our research found that private betting, which could include sweepstakes or bets between friends, or playing card games between friends/family, was much more common amongst BAME gamblers than it was amongst all respondents in our study (19.2% and 9.3% respectively).

We also found that amongst those that have gambled in the last 4 weeks, 65% of BAME respondents had gambled online compared to 56% of all respondents in our study.

Risks of gambling harm

We found that 10.7% of BAME gamblers reported that they have bet more than they can afford to lose, compared to 3.2% of all gamblers in the survey. We also saw that 10.4% of BAME gamblers said that they have felt guilty about the way they gamble or what happens when they gamble, compared to 3.8% of all gamblers asked. So, whilst the results show that BAME respondents are less likely to gamble in the first place, those that do gamble may be more at risk of experiencing harm.

Taking our research forward

Of course, we know that gambling isn’t homogeneous and within the BAME population there will be differences in the way that people gamble, cultural and personal, and those who will be more, or less, at risk of experiencing gambling harm. Unfortunately, the sample size of this survey limits the amount of analysis we can do for individual ethnic communities.

As an evidence-based regulator it is essential that the data we collect gives us the most accurate picture available of gambling behaviour, ensuring we are considering differences within the population in Great Britain. This will allow us to monitor changes that may have an impact on the regulatory framework. As we strive to improve the quality of our statistics at the Commission, we are embarking on a project to pilot a new survey methodology which will improve the robustness and timeliness of our participation and prevalence data.

If successful, we hope the survey will be rolled out on a continuous basis with a much larger sample size than the current quarterly telephone survey. This will significantly enhance our ability to understand gambling behaviours amongst subgroups of the population, including within the BAME community.

Keep an eye out on our website for updates about the pilot methodology project in the coming weeks.

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