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Statistics and research release

Understanding the impact of increased cost of living on gambling behaviour - Final report

Gambling Commission report with Yonder to understand the behaviours and motivations of gamblers during the ongoing period of high cost of living in Great Britain.


About our consumer voice research

We use a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to gather views, opinions, and insights from gambling consumers. This work complements our nationally representative statistics on gambling participation and the prevalence of problem gambling, but goes into more depth on key issues and emerging areas of interest.

We are currently working with Yonder to deliver our Consumer Voice research. They use a variety of methodologies including surveys, online communities, focus groups and life diaries to tap into the experiences of gambling consumers and those affected by gambling in Great Britain.

This release contains the combined qualitative and quantitative findings from research exploring the impact of rises in the cost of living on people’s gambling behaviour. The work has been conducted by Yonder as part of our Consumer Voice research programme, and supports Evidence theme 2 – in which we seek to better understand the range and variability of gambling experiences.


In October 2023 we released interim quantitative findings, exploring the impact of recent rises in the cost of living. This report now incorporates both quantitative and qualitative analysis and insights.

The research was commissioned to test three core hypotheses:

  • the rise in cost of living is likely to impact consumers’ gambling behaviour in different ways, depending on their personal circumstances and the way in which gambling fits into their lives
  • some gamblers will report that the rise in cost of living has had a mediating effect on their gambling behaviour
  • the rise in cost of living may negatively impact vulnerabilities for some consumers, putting them at an increased risk of gambling-related harm.

A longitudinal survey was undertaken over three waves between December 2022 and June 2023. In total 1,391 respondents took part in all three surveys. This was followed by qualitative depth interviews with 16 participants who had taken part in all three waves of the survey.

Key findings

Most respondents reported that they had not made any changes to their gambling behaviour throughout the tracked period of increased cost of living. The few who did make changes to their gambling were more likely to have decreased gambling behaviours (such as spend, time and frequency) than increased them.

With regards to how the increased cost of living has impacted gamblers, three categories emerged:

  • the ‘squeezed middle’,
  • those on the lowest income who have been significantly impacted
  • those with a high income who have become more aware of their spending but have made little to no changes.

However, those who were more likely to have increased their gambling behaviours - the smallest proportion of gamblers – were:

  • generally of working age
  • with a higher household income
  • reported to have a longstanding mental health condition.

This suggests that while those who are more likely to have increased their gambling behaviours over time might be in a financial position to do so, they may also have a heightened vulnerability to the potential impacts of gambling, however further investigation is needed to reliably confirm whether this is the case.

There was also a small minority of gamblers that agreed that they had used gambling to either supplement their income on a regular basis, to help pay household bills, or to help offset loans and/or credit card debt. These respondents were more likely to be:

  • those with a household income of £55,000 or more
  • those who are working, those with children aged 18 or under
  • those with a mortgage as well as those renting
  • those with a university degree
  • those who identify as non-white
  • those who live in a household with at least three people
  • those who are single.

Of the respondents interviewed, those who prioritise gambling more within their lives may have found themselves gambling more as a means of escape and as a source of pleasure. However, it is not possible to directly connect this increase to increases in the cost of living due to the many other factors which may have led to them relying more upon gambling.

The findings suggest that the rise in cost of living does not appear to have had a mediating effect on most gamblers’ gambling behaviours, with most behaviours staying the same as they were 12 months ago. However, a small minority of gamblers with increased vulnerability are more likely to point to increased cost of living as the reason for changes in their gambling behaviours. 

Data and Downloads

This research has provided us with a rich source of quantitative longitudinal data. With such a large data set available, we are continuing to explore further opportunities for secondary analysis. Therefore, the data will be made available at a later date.

Full report

Final Report: Understanding the impact of increased cost of living on gambling behaviour.

Data and downloads

There are no files for this release.

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