The Gambling Commission has published its “Gambling participation in 2018: behaviour, awareness and attitudes” Annual Report, that can be downloaded below.
The headline findings (set out below, with comparative proportions from the 2017 Annual Report in parentheses) have led the Commission to describe gambling participation as having “remained stable compared with 2017”:
- 46% Percentage of respondents who have participated in any form of gambling in the past four weeks (45% in year to December 2017)
- 32% Percentage of respondents who have participated in gambling in the past four weeks, excluding those who had only played the National Lottery draws (31% in year to December 2017)
- 18% Percentage of respondents who had gambled online in the past four weeks (18% in year to December 2017)
- 1.5% Percentage of respondents who had played on machines in a bookmakers in the past four weeks (1.4% in year to December 2017)
- 55% Proportion of online gamblers who have gambled using a mobile phone or tablet in the past four weeks (51% in year to December 2017)
- 23% Proportion of online gamblers who have bet in-play (26% in year to December 2017)
Insofar as problem gambling statistics are concerned, the headline findings are:
- 0.7% Proportion of respondents who were classified as problem gamblers (those who gamble with negative consequences and a possible loss of control) – according to the full PGSI or DSM-IV screen in 2016
- 1.1% Proportion of respondents who were classified as moderate-risk gamblers (those who experience a moderate level of problems leading to some negative consequences) – according to the full PGSI screen in 2016
- 2.4% Proportion of respondents who were classified as low-risk gamblers (those who experience a low level of problems with few or no identified negative consequences) – according to the full PGSI screen in 2016
- 6% Proportion of gamblers who have ever self-excluded (6% in year to December 2017)
In terms of perceptions and attitudes
- 30% Proportion of respondents who think that gambling is fair and can be trusted (33% in year to December 2017)
- 38% Proportion of respondents who think that gambling is associated with crime (41% in year to December 2017)
The Commission’s Executive Summary reads as follows:
Background and context
This report presents annual estimates of gambling behaviour in Great Britain in 2018, and constitutes the Gambling Commission’s regular tracker of gambling participation. The datasets have been gathered via a combination of telephone and online surveys with people aged 16+, conducted independently by Populus. The datasets cover the past four week participation rate, online gambling behaviour, consumer awareness of gambling management tools, and perceptions and attitudes towards gambling. Data on rates of problem, moderate and low-risk gambling are taken from our latest Combined Health Survey 2016 (which incorporates the Health Survey for England, the Scottish Health Survey and the Welsh Problem Gambling Survey) due to its use of the full PGSI (Problem Gambling Severity Index) and DSM-IV screens. We have also included data from the telephone survey for 2018 for reference.
This report reflects the headline findings and gambling behaviour in Great Britain, and is accompanied by a technical annex.
Our research found that overall, gambling participation has remained stable compared to 2017 with 46% of respondents aged 16+ having participated in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks in 2018 (45% in 2017). Those participating in gambling were more likely to be aged between either 55-64 (55%) or 45-54 (52%), however if we exclude National Lottery draw only participation, those in the age group 25-34 had the highest participation level (40%).
- The National Lottery draws remain the most popular gambling activity, followed by scratchcards and other lotteries.
- Football and horse racing are the most popular betting activities.
- Over half of gamblers (52%) gamble at least once a week.
- 18% of all respondents have gambled online in the past four weeks.
Problem gambling estimates
According to our latest Combined Health Survey (2016), an estimated 0.7% of respondents were classified as a problem gambler according to the full Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) or DSM-IV2 screen, with up to 2.4% being classified as low-risk (those who experience a low level of problems with few or no identified negative consequences), with 1.1% presenting as moderate-risk gamblers (those who experience a moderate level of problems leading to some negative consequences).
By comparison, the Commission’s regular telephone survey, which uses the PGSI mini-screen observed a problem gambling rate of 0.5% and 3.3% being classified as low-risk and 1.5% as moderate-risk, however we encourage the use of the figures taken from the Combined Health Survey due to its robustness and use of the full PGSI screen.
Online gambling behaviour
Among online gamblers, laptops and mobile phones remain the most popular method of accessing gambling online in 2018. Mobile phone use for gambling purposes significantly increased (44%, an increase of 5 percentage points from 2017), whilst laptop use significantly declined (45%, a 5 percentage point decrease from 2017).
Typically, online gamblers play at home (96%). Younger age groups are more likely to gamble outside the home, either on their commute, at work, at a sports venue, or at a pub or club.
Among online gamblers, 23% have bet in-play (a 4 percentage point decrease from 2017), with the rate being highest among 18-24 year olds. On average, online gamblers have three accounts with online gambling operators. 5% of online gamblers have bet on eSports during the past 12 months, with participation rates highest among 18- 24 and 25-34 year olds.
Awareness of self-exclusion among gamblers is 47%. Overall, 6% of gamblers had ever self-excluded and a further 41% hadn’t self-excluded but were aware of it.
Overall, 20% of gamblers have read terms and conditions, of which 27% felt they had been in a situation where terms and conditions had been unfair. Overall, 8% of gamblers have ever made a complaint to or about a gambling operator, with rates highest among 25-34 year olds (14%) and 18-24 year olds (13%).
In terms of social media and advertising:
- 26% of online gamblers follow a gambling company on a social media platform with rates highest among 18-24 year olds.
- Facebook remains the most popular social media platform on which online gamblers follow gambling companies.
- 53% of respondents have seen a gambling advert on the television in the past week.
- 45% of online gamblers were prompted to spend money on a gambling activity due to the adverts that they saw, as were 49% of online gamblers (with a social media account) who saw adverts on a social media platform.
Perceptions and attitudes
Overall 30% of respondents think that gambling is fair and can be trusted and 38% think that gambling is associated with criminal activity. Gambling addicts stealing to carry on gambling and money laundering are the crimes that respondents associate the most with gambling.
In addition, 79% of respondents think there are too many opportunities for gambling nowadays and 71% think that gambling is dangerous for family life, however 62% of respondents think that people should have the right to gamble whenever they want.
Best odds and reputation of a company for being fair and trustworthy were the top factors that were important for to gamblers when first selecting an operator.
UPDATE: Interestingly, this year the Gambling Commission chose not to publicise as a news item on its website publication of the above Annual Report. Instead, it will have first come to the attention of many when mention of the report was contained within the Commission’s fortnightly e-bulletin on 4 March 2019. That contains a link to an updated “Gambling participation and problem gambling” webpage on which the Commission has listed the following statistics:
|of people have gambled in the past four weeks|
|of men have gambled in the past four weeks|
|of women have gambled in the past four weeks|
|of people have gambled online in the past four weeks|
Online gambling behaviour (year to Dec 2018)
|of online gamblers gamble at home|
|of online gamblers gamble using a laptop|
|of online gamblers gamble using a mobile or tablet device|
|of online gamblers have bet in-play in the past four weeks|
|of people aged 16+ in Great Britain are classified as problem gamblers (2016)|
The Commission has also invited feedback on its statistics by way of completion of a survey that you can find here.