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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

Self-exclusion and gambling management tools

The Commission’s online survey also contains questions asked to both gamblers and non-gamblers about wider gambling issues and topics of interest to consumers, including: self-exclusion and gambling management tools, information to players, terms and conditions, complaints, social media & advertising and social gaming. These are asked on a quarterly basis, biannually or annually depending on the nature of the questions.

If a gambler thinks that they are spending too much time or money gambling, whether online or in gambling premises, and wishes to be supported in their decision to stop, they can ask to be self-excluded from a gambling company or self-exclude from multiple operators. This is when the consumer enters a voluntary agreement that commits them to abstain from gambling and the company to take all reasonable steps to prevent them from gambling with them for a period of time. The minimum self-exclusion period is six months. Other, principally online, tools that can be used to help a player to control their gambling are self-exclusion by product, setting time or money limits, reality checks and using time-outs to suspend play for a short period of time.

Since 2015 questions have been included in the online survey to monitor gamblers’ awareness of these tools and the extent to which they are used. Prior to 2019, these questions were asked on a quarterly basis to any gambler who had participated in any gambling activity in the past 12 months. In 2019, the frequency of these questions was reduced to bi-annual.

Figure 20: Gamblers’ awareness and use of self-exclusion in 2019 (Online Tracker; n=3,138)

Gamblers’ awareness and use of self-exclusion in 2019

Data from the table

  • 5% - Have ever self-excluded
  • 42% - Have not self-excluded, but are aware
  • 53% - Not aware of self-exclusion

Overall, 5% of gamblers have ever self-excluded. Additionally, 42% of gamblers are aware of self-exclusion but have not self-excluded. Over half of gamblers are not aware of self-exclusion (53%, which has remained stable from 2018).

Overall, 47% of gamblers had either used or were aware of the self-exclusion facility, a significant increase over a five year period (35% in 2015).

Figure 21: Gamblers awareness and use of self-exclusion (Online Tracker; n=3,138)

Gamblers awareness and use of self-exclusion

Self-exclusion among all gamblers by gender and age
Year to December 2015Year to December 2016Year to December 2017Year to December 2018Year to December 2019
Self-excluded6%6%6%6%5%
Not self-excluded but aware29%37%35%41%42%
Not self-excluded and not aware65%57%58%53%53%

Figures show that, among gamblers, higher proportions of men have self-excluded compared to women, with 6% of men having ever self-excluded compared to 4% of women. Those aged 25-34 were the age group with the highest self-exclusion rates (9%), followed by those in the 18-24 and 35-44 age groups (8%).

Rates of self-exclusion have decreased among those in the 45-54 age group (3%, a 2 percentage point decrease from 2018).

Figure 22: Self-exclusion among all gamblers by gender and age (Online Tracker; n=3,138)

Self-exclusion among all gamblers by gender and age

Gamblers awareness and use of self-exclusion
Year to December 2015Year to December 2016Year to December 2017Year to December 2018Year to December 2019
All respondents6%6%6%6%5%
Males7%7%7%7%6%
Females4%5%4%4%4%
16 to 248%9%8%9%8%
25 to 3414%12%10%11%9%
35 to 447%9%8%8%8%
45 to 543%4%4%5%3%
55 to 641%1%3%2%3%
65 and over2%1%1%1%1%

Whilst self-exclusion is a facility to manage potentially problematic gambling, not everyone will use it only for this reason. If gamblers within the survey have ever self-excluded, they are asked why they chose to self-exclude. The most common reason given for self-exclusion was to help control the amount being gambled overall (50%), followed by, to help control the amount being spent with a particular company (41%).

Figure 23: Reasons for self-excluding (Online Tracker; n=142)

Reasons for self-excluding

Reasons for self-excluding
Year to December 2015Year to December 2016Year to December 2017Year to December 2018Year to December 2019
To help control the amount you were gambling with that particular company35%32%42%42%41%
To help control the amount you were gambling overall45%45%54%52%50%
To close the account with that gambling company37%40%25%29%33%
Other3%4%6%8%7%

Gamblers were also asked if they have used a selection of gambling management tools. Financial limits were the most used tool in 2019 with 9% of gamblers having used them, an equal proportion to that observed in 2018.

Since 2018, the proportion of respondents that were aware of reality checks as a gambling management tool (but who have not used them) has decreased (27%; a 3 percentage point decrease). Additionally, the proportion of gamblers being unaware of reality checks as a gambling management tool has increased (70%; a 3 percentage point increase).

Figure 24: Use and awareness of gambling management tools (Online Tracker; n=3,138)

Use and awareness of gambling management tools

Use and awareness of gambling management tools
Exclusion by productTime outFinancial limitsReality check
Used2%3%9%3%
Aware but not used24%34%49%27%
Not aware74%63%42%70%

There has been a decrease in the proportion of both males and females having reality checks about their gambling (both 1%, down from 3% in 2018). There has also been a decrease in the use of reality checks amongst those aged 25-34 (4%; a 3 percentage point decrease from 2018).

Compared to last year, those aged 35-44 were more likely to use financial limits as a gambling management tool (15%; a 4 percentage point increase from 2018). There have also been declines in the percentage of males using exclusion by product as a gambling management tool (2%; a 1 percentage point decrease from 2018).

Figure 25: Gamblers use of gambling management tools by gender and age (Online Tracker; n=3,138)

Gamblers use of gambling management tools by gender and age

Gamblers use of gambling management tools by gender and age
Reality checkFinancial limitsTime outExclusion by product
All respondents3%9%3%2%
Males1%10%3%2%
Females1%9%3%2%
18 to 243%9%4%4%
25 to 344%13%5%3%
35 to 444%15%4%3%
45 to 542%8%2%1%
55 to 641%5%2%0%
65 and over2%5%1%0%
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