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Statistics and research release

Types of gambling and gambling involvement

Analysis of the relationship between problem gambling and the number of different gambling activities a person takes part in (gambling involvement).

Latest release


In 2016 we replicated analysis that LaPlante et al conducted in 2011. LaPlante et al used data from the British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007, while our analysis used data from the British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010 and combined data from the Health Survey for England 2012 and the Scottish Health Survey 2012.

The work by LaPlante et al showed that controlling for gambling involvement substantially reduced or eliminated all statistically significant relationships between individual gambling activities and problem gambling, except in the case of machines in bookmakers.

Key facts

  • The original conclusion that there is no consistent evidence that particular gambling activities are predictive of problem gambling, after controlling for the level of involvement, holds true in 2010 and 2012.
  • The 2007 finding that machines in bookmakers are the exception does not persist into 2010 and 2012.
  • It appears that any ‘significant’ effects borne out of the results are most likely an unexplained variation in the sample.


Although this work found playing on machines in bookmakers does not increase the chance someone is a problem gambler (once you control for involvement), the Natcen Follow-up study of loyalty card customers (opens in new tab) found that loyalty card holders who played machines in bookmakers were significantly more likely to develop gambling problems (even when controlling for involvement).

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