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National Strategic Assessment 2020

This report sets out our latest assessment of the issues we face and the risks that gambling poses to consumers and the public

  1. Contents
  2. The person gambling
  3. Understanding why people gamble

Understanding why people gamble

As a regulator we put consumers at the heart of our work. It is therefore important to understand why people gamble, the choices they make and how it fits into their lives. This adds important context to headline participation data.

Through in-depth qualitative research validated and refined by quantitative research, we have explored the reasons why people gamble and how gambling fits into their lives. We understand from this research that different consumers have different drivers for playing, for different products and at different times 5.

The research identified eight broad groups, summarised in Figure 2 and examples of how these may apply to a real-life scenario in Figure 3:

Diagram describing the different types of gambler. Wise decision, social play, along for the ride, feeling lucky, money to burn, me time, just what I do and for the money.

A story of a player visiting a dog racetrack who demonstrates multiple types of gambling. Including: along for the ride, wise decision, social play and money to burn.

Those people participating in the research perceived their own gambling behaviour as ‘normal’ and saw others as at risk of problems. They perceived minimal conscious cross-over between their passions/interests and their gambling behaviour – it is perceived as a self-indulgence or a treat.

Responsibility for safer gambling needs to be shared between consumers, gambling companies and the Commission as a regulator. For most consumers, gambling is ‘just for fun’ and yet vigilance and risk is never too far from consideration and this provides a strong context to understand where the points are that this fun may cross over into harm.

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What do we know?
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Problem and at-risk gambling
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