Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes
Public opinion on gambling policy
Questions capturing the opinions and attitudes of the Great British public are included in the Commission’s online survey once a year (in June) to support the findings collected in the telephone survey (reported above). As opposed to capturing people’s opinions on gambling in general, these questions were designed to provide insight into attitudes towards topical gambling policy issues.
Respondents were first asked about their awareness of nine selected policy issues covering topics such as gambling advertising, machines in bookmakers, and self-exclusion.
Figure 53: Awareness of gambling policy issues (Online Tracker; n=2,078)30
|Know a lot about||Know a little about||Don't know anything about|
|The controls in place to ensure that children and young people are not exposed to gambling||4%||34%||62%|
|The maximum amount that can be bet on machines in bookmakers||4%||31%||64%|
|The number of gambling premises on the high street||4%||31%||65%|
|Increased regulation of online gambling and non-UK based gambling operators||3%||31%||66%|
|What time gambling advertising is permitted to appear on TV||3%||30%||67%|
|The content of gambling advertising||3%||29%||68%|
|The amount of gambling advertising||3%||28%||70%|
|Multi-operator self-exclusions schemes (schemes that allow people experiencing problems with gambling to exclude themselves from more than one gambling company at once||4%||24%||71%|
|The maximum number of gaming machines allowed in bookmakers premises||3%||16%||81%|
The two policy issues that the general public were most aware of were the controls in place to ensure that children and young people are not exposed to gambling, with 38% stating that they knew a lot or a little about the topic, and the maximum amount that can be bet on machines in bookmakers, with 35% stating that they knew a lot or a little about the topic (a 6 percentage point decrease from 2018). This was followed by the number of gambling premises on the high street (35%) and increased regulation of online gambling and non-UK based gambling operators (34%). Similar to 2018, the issue that the public knew least about was the maximum number of gaming machines allowed in bookmakers’ premises, with 19% (a 2 percentage point decrease from 2018) stating that they knew a lot or little about the issue.
This was followed by a question used to ascertain how important the public felt that various regulatory measures covering each of the nine issues are. Respondents were asked to rank each issue in order of importance.
The issue that most people ranked as the highest importance was having controls in place to ensure that children and young people are not exposed to gambling (32% ranked this in first place, and 55% ranked it in their top three issues).
Since last year, the percentage of respondents ranking the importance of setting a stake limit on machines in bookmakers has remained stable, with 13% ranking it as the most important issue, and 40% ranking it among the top three issues.
The only policy issue seeing a significant increase in importance is restriction on the content of gambling advertising (6%; a 1 percentage point increase since 2018) ranking in first place.
Figure 54: Ranked importance of gambling policy issues (Online Tracker; n=2,078)
|Ranked in 1st place||Ranked in top 3|
|Having controls in place to ensure that children and young people are not exposed to gambling||32%||55%|
|Setting a stake limit on machines in bookmakers||13%||40%|
|Increased regulation of non-UK based online gambling operators||10%||34%|
|Multi-operator self-exclusion schemes (schemes that allow people experiencing problems with gambling to exclude themselves from more than one gambling company at once)||10%||30%|
|Regulating the number of gambling premises on the high street||10%||33%|
|Restrictions on the volume of gambling advertising||9%||28%|
|Restrictions on the timing of gambling advertising on TV||6%||30%|
|Restrictions on the content of gambling advertising||6%||27%|
|Setting a maximum allowance for the number gaming machines permitted in bookmakers premises||5%||23%|
Respondents were then asked about what channels had informed their overall opinion of gambling on society. News on TV (40%) most often informed people’s opinions, followed by personal experience (31%) and newspapers (26%). Significant declines were seen in the portrayal of gambling in advertising (22%; a 3 percentage point decrease from 2018) and politicians and government policy (10%; a 2 percentage point decrease since 2018) in informing public opinion.
Figure 55: Channels informing public opinion (Online Tracker; n=2,093)
|News on TV||40%|
|Experience of a friend or family member||24%|
|Portrayal of Gambling in Advertising||22%|
|Storylines on TV||17%|
|Politicians and government policy||10%|
|Storylines in films||9%|
News on TV was most likely to inform opinions around gambling (40%)
Gamblers were also asked about which factors were important when selecting a company to gamble with for the first time. The most important factor was operators who offered the best odds, selected by 27% of gamblers as their top choice, closely followed by reputation of a company for being fair and trustworthy, with 24% of gamblers selecting it as their top choice.
Figure 56: The most important factor to gamblers when selecting an operator for the first time (Online Tracker; n=3,031)
|Reputation of company for being fair and trustworthy||24%||24%|
|Recognisable brand name||14%||14%|
|Range of products||6%||5%|
|Recommendations from others||5%||6%|
|Proximity (of gambling premises)||4%||5%|
|Availability of support to help manage my gambling||4%||4%|
30 Figures may not add to 100% due to rounding
Attitudes towards gambling
Last updated: 24 February 2022
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