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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

What people gamble on

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+

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

In 2019, the most popular gambling activities were National Lottery draws (30%), followed by other lotteries (13%) and scratchcards (10%). Until 2017, there had been a continued decline in participation in National Lottery draws. This coincided with, amongst other factors, the increase in the Lotto ticket price from £1 to £2 in October 2013 and the increase in the number of Lotto balls in October 2015. However, National Lottery draws show signs of recovery with a 2 percentage point increase in participation since 2018.

Other than National Lottery draws, there have been significant changes in participation rates for numerous activities. These include increases in participation in other lotteries (13%, a 2 percentage point increase from 2018) and fruit or slot machines in bingo halls (0.5%; a 0.3 percentage point increase). There have also been declines in participation for machines in a bookmakers, which are otherwise known as Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) (0.8%; a 0.7 percentage point decrease from 2018). This may in part be due to the FOBT maximum stake cut from £100 to £2, which was introduced on 1st April 2019.

There has also been an increase in participation in online slot machine-style games and instant wins7(3.1%; a 1.9 percentage point increase from 2018).

Figure 5: Past four week gambling participation – Top three activities (Telephone Survey; n=4,003)

Chart 5 - Past four week gambling participation – Top three activities

Past four week gambling participation – Top three activities
Year to December 2015Year to December 2016Year to December 2017Year to December 2018Year to December 2019
National lottery draws32%30%27%28%30%
Another lottery11%12%11%11%13%
Scratchcards10%12%11%11%10%

Table 1: Past four week gambling participation – All other activities (Telephone Survey; n=4,003)8

Past four week gambling participation – All other activities
Year to December 2015Year to December 2016Year to December 2017Year to December 2018Year to December 2019
Sports betting3.5%7.1%6.4%6.6%6.7%
Private betting3.5%6.0%4.4%6.1%5.6%
Fruit or slot machines1.8%4.5%4.4%3.7%4.2%
Horse races3.7%4.6%3.9%3.8%4.0%
Online games/instant wins0.6%1.7%1.2%1.2%3.1%
Bingo2.6%3.5%3.3%2.6%2.9%
Football pools2.1%1.8%1.4%1.4%1.7%
Casino games1.1%2.3%1.6%1.6%1.5%
Betting on other events0.6%0.9%0.5%1.0%1.4%
Any other activity0.3%0.6%0.5%0.9%0.8%
Machines in a bookmakers1.0%1.5%1.4%1.5%0.8%
Dog races0.7%1.1%1.1%0.8%0.7%
Poker at a pub/club0.4%0.6%0.4%0.8%0.5%
Virtual dog or horse races0.3%0.4%0.4%0.3%0.4%
Spread betting0.2%0.2%0.3%0.3%0.3%

In terms of the individual National Lottery draws, the most popular games in 2019 were Lotto (played by 21% of all respondents) and EuroMillions, played by 20% of all respondents

Figure 6: Past four week gambling participation – National Lottery draws (Telephone Survey; n=4,003)9

Past four week gambling participation – National Lottery draws

  • 21% Lotto
  • 20% EuroMillions
  • 3% Thunderball
  • 1% Hotpicks (Lotto/EuroMillions)

Overall, 10% of all respondents had participated in any betting activity10 in the previous four weeks. The most popular betting activity in 2019 was football (5.8%), followed by horse races (4.0%) and other sports (2.7%)11, as can be observed in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Past four week betting participation by activity (Telephone Survey; n=4,003)12

Chart 7 - Past four week betting participation by activity

Past four week gambling participation – All other activities
ActivityPercentage
Football5.8%
Horse races4.0%
Other sport events2.7%
Football pools1.7%
Dog races0.7%
Outcome of lotteries0.6%
Other events0.5%
Tennis0.4%
Virtual dog or horse races0.4%
Political events0.4%
Spread betting0.3%

References

7 In December 2017 this option was expanded, with separate options for National Lottery online instant wins and other instant wins. articipation is reported by the new categories and has been combined to continue the existing trend.

8 Data shown within Table 1 is reported to one decimal place due to the presence of small percentages.

9 A new National Lottery draw, Set for Life, was introduced in March 2019. Participation rates are not currently included due to 12 months' worth of data not being available.

10 Betting activities includes betting on horse races, betting on dog races, betting on football, betting on tennis, betting on other sports events, betting on other events, betting on the outcome of lotteries, and betting on political events.

11 Survey changes in 2016 extended the data collection for different types of betting activities, with ‘betting on other events’, broadened to capture rates of betting on the outcome of lotteries and betting on political events.

12 Products with small base sizes (< 30) are not included in the chart. Other base sizes can be found in the technical annex accompanying this report. Data shown within Figure 7 is reported to one decimal place due to the presence of small percentages.

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