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Report

Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes

A report providing an overview of consumer gambling behaviour in Great Britain in 2019

How many people gamble

This section reports on gambling participation in the year to December 2019, using data collected via the Gambling Commission’s quarterly telephone survey, which is conducted with people in Great Britain aged 16+6.

These questions ask respondents about their gambling participation in the past four weeks.

Overall, 47% of adults (16+) said they had participated in at least one form of gambling in the previous four weeks. As Figure 1 shows, a larger proportion of men (51%) have participated in any form of gambling than women (43%). The age groups most likely to have participated in gambling were those aged between either 45-54 or 35-44, with 53% of 45-54 year olds and 50% of 35-44 year olds having gambled in the past four weeks. Similar to the previous year, those in the youngest and oldest age groups had the lowest gambling participation levels.

During the last 12 months, significant changes were seen in the participation rate of 35-44 year olds (50%; a 6 percentage point increase from 2018) and of the 55-64 age group (48%; a 7 percentage point decrease from 2018).

Figure 1: Past four week gambling participation by gender and age (Telephone Survey; n=4,003)

Chart 1 - Past four week gambling participation by gender and age

Past four week gambling participation by age and gender
Year to December 2015Year to December 2016Year to December 2017Year to December 2018Year to December 2019
All respondents45%48%45%46%47%
Males49%53%48%51%51%
Females41%44%41%41%43%
16 to 2433%38%35%36%40%
25 to 3438%48%48%46%49%
35 to 4444%49%43%44%50%
45 to 5454%53%48%52%53%
55 to 6452%53%50%55%48%
65 and over45%48%45%42%42%

As participation in National Lottery draws is so much higher than for other gambling activities (see Figure 5), changes in National Lottery participation can have a noticeable impact on overall participation rates. Figure 2 shows that when looking at only those who had gambled on at least one activity in the previous four weeks, 31% had only gambled on National Lottery draws. It is therefore useful to remove the responses of those who have only participated in National Lottery draws to highlight patterns across age and gender groups.

Figure 2 shows that those in the older age categories (45+) were most likely to participate in only National Lottery draws. This contrasts with gamblers aged 16-24, of which 6% were participating in only National Lottery draws.

Figure 2: Proportion of gamblers participating in National Lottery draws only (Telephone Survey; n=1,860)

Chart 2 - Proportion of gamblers participating in National Lottery draws only

Proportion of gamblers participating in National Lottery draws only
Percentage
All respondents31%
Males30%
Females32%
16 to 246%
25 to 3417%
35 to 4430%
45 to 5439%
55 to 6444%
65 and over39%

Figure 3 shows that when National Lottery draw only respondents are excluded, the overall participation rate falls from 47% to 32%. Since 2015, the proportion of respondents gambling on any activity (excluding National Lottery draws) has increased by 5 percentage points. Males were more likely than females to gamble (36% compared to 30%) and 16-34 age groups were more likely to gamble than other age groups.

Figure 3: Past four week gambling participation (excluding participation in National Lottery draws) by gender and age (Telephone Survey; n=4,003)

Chart 3 - Past four week gambling participation (excluding participation in National Lottery draws) by gender and age

Past four week gambling participation
Year to December 2015Year to December 2016Year to December 2017Year to December 2018Year to December 2019
All respondents27%33%31%32%32%
Males30%36%34%37%36%
Females25%30%29%28%30%
16 to 2429%35%32%35%38%
25 to 3427%39%38%40%41%
35 to 4426%33%29%32%35%
45 to 5431%31%29%32%32%
55 to 6428%32%30%32%27%
65 and over25%30%29%24%26%

Overall, 21% of adults have gambled online in the previous four weeks, which is a 3 percentage point increase since 2018 and a 6 percentage point increase since 2015 (both significant increases).

Online participation was higher among men (25%) than women (17%). There have been increases in online gambling participation amongst both males and females, though this is only significant amongst females (17%; a 2 percentage point increase from 2018). There has been a significant increase in those aged 16-24 (17%, a 5 percentage point increase) and 35-44 (28%, a 6 percentage point increase) gambling online.

Figure 4: Past four week online gambling participation by gender and age (Telephone Survey; n=4,003)

Chart 4 - Past four week online gambling participation by gender and age

Past four week online gambling participation by gender and age
Year to December 2015Year to December 2016Year to December 2017Year to December 2018Year to December 2019
All respondents15%17%18%18%21%
Males18%21%21%23%25%
Females11%13%15%15%17%
16 to 249%16%14%12%17%
25 to 3416%20%24%23%25%
35 to 4421%21%23%22%28%
45 to 5421%20%19%22%26%
55 to 6414%16%21%23%20%
65 and over7%11%12%11%13%

References

6 In March 2016 the sample was broadened to include participants aged 16+.

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What people gamble on
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