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Gambling Commission publishes latest combined Health Survey

06 September 2018

The Gambling Commission has today published the latest combined Health Survey, which outlines participation, at-risk gambling and problem gambling rates across Great Britain.

The data, drawn from field research carried out in 2016, shows that the rate of problem gambling across Britain was 0.7%.

Tim Miller, Executive Director at the Gambling Commission said: “The Health Survey" PDF, along with all of our evidence and data, indicates that the problem gambling rate in Great Britain is stable. However, we want to see a sustained and significant reduction in the levels of problem gambling and will continue to drive the industry to build momentum towards this goal.

“Understanding the level of problem gambling is an important part of making gambling safer, but what this data won’t show is the extent of the harm someone may be experiencing, or the wider impact upon their families and their communities.”

Tim adds: “That is why, together with our expert advisers the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, we recently published a ground-breaking approach to understanding the full range of harms gambling can have on society (PDF).”

This work, alongside the recently published research programme (PDF) marks an important step in informing the direction of the next National Responsible Gambling Strategy, which will launch in April 2019. Comments on how the social cost of gambling-related harms can be measured and better understood, along with feedback on the research programme are welcomed by email: research@gamblingcommission.gov.uk

Key figures

  • 1.2% of gamblers were classed as problem gamblers (0.7% of the population) – this is statistically stable, and consistent with both 2012 and 2015 reports
  • 2.4% of people were classed as low risk gamblers, and 1.1% of people as moderate risk gamblers
  • problem gambling was more prevalent among people who had participated in multiple gambling activities in the past year, than those that had just participated in one
  • 57% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Great Britain had gambled in the past year – this is down by 6% compared to 2015
  • men (62%) are more likely to participate in gambling than women (52%)
  • most popular gambling activities were: National Lottery draws (41%), scratchcards (21%) and other lotteries (14%)
  • gambling participation (excluding National Lottery draws only) was highest among 25 – 34 year olds
  • gambling participation was lowest among non-drinkers (36%), followed by those who drank up to 14 units of alcohol per week (59%) and were highest for those who drank more than 14 units per week (69%)
  • problem gambling rates were higher among those with probable mental ill health (according to the GHQ-12 score), than those that indicated no evidence of probable mental ill health.

1 Under the current requirements, operators have 72 hours to carry out age verification (AV) checks. The licensee can’t permit customers to withdraw winnings until AV has been completed, and must return a customer’s stake if it turns out they are underage. However, customers are still able to deposit funds and gamble during that 72-hour window.

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  1. More information about how we regulate the gambling industry.

Journalists can contact our press office on 0121 230 6700 or email: communications@gamblingcommission.gov.uk

For all media enquiries, please contact the Gambling Commission press office.

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