Statistically stable problem gambling rates are maintained once again

The Gambling Commission has published a statistical release that covers the quarterly gambling participation and problem gambling prevalence data for the year to June 2022. Of particular note is its finding that “the overall headline problem gambling rate as measured by the short form PGSI is statistically stable at 0.2%. The moderate risk and low risk rates are also statistically stable at 1.0% and 1.5% respectively (compared to year to June 2021)”. 
Commenting on this, the Commission states as follows on its website:

Statistics on participation and problem gambling for the year to June 2022

Findings from the quarterly telephone survey: Statistics on participation and problem gambling for the year to June 2022.

The data being released today is based on the Gambling Commission’s quarterly telephone survey conducted by Yonder Consulting. A nationally representative sample of 4,018 adults aged 16 and over were interviewed via telephone in September 2021, December 2021, March 2022 and June 2022. Further details on the quarterly telephone survey methodology can be found on the front cover of the main publication.

Key facts

  • in year to June 2022, overall participation in any gambling activity (in the last four weeks) remained statistically stable at 43% (compared to year to June 2021)
  • in year to June 2022, the in-person gambling participation rate remained statistically stable at 25%, although significantly below the pre-pandemic level (compared to year to June 2021)
  • the online gambling participation rate remained statistically stable at 26% (compared to year to June 2021)
  • the overall headline problem gambling rate as measured by the short form PGSI is statistically stable at 0.2%. The moderate risk and low risk rates are also statistically stable at 1.0% and 1.5% respectively (compared to year to June 2021).

Details

Reflections on the data

  • following two years of disruption and restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, overall gambling participation remains lower than pre-covid levels, especially in relation to the proportion of people gambling in person
  • latest data for 2022 indicates that people are starting to return to in person activities including bingo, horse races and casino games, however, current participation rates remain below pre-pandemic levels
  • the proportion of people gambling online has remained stable in this latest data release compared to the previous year, although the long-term trend continues to show steady growth, like many other sectors. Contributing to this long term trend has been people buying National Lottery tickets online instead of in shops.

Notes

This publication is primarily for anyone who has an involvement or interest in the gambling industry including government, licensed operators, trade bodies, international regulators, journalists, academic researchers, financial institutions, statisticians, consumers and local authorities.

About the status of official statistics.

We intend to publish the next quarterly participation and prevalence statistics in October 2022.

You can download below the Gambling Commission’s ‘Survey Data on Gambling Participation, June 2022’.


UPDATE: The Betting and Gaming Council welcomed the above news on 29 July 2022, stating as follows on its website:

NEW REGULATOR FIGURES CONFIRM PROBLEM GAMBLING RATES REMAIN LOW IN THE UK

New figures released by the Gambling Commission confirm the rates of problem gambling have remained historically low at 0.2% in the year to June 2022.

The latest statistics showed the rate of problem gambling in the year to June 2022 was 0.2 per cent – down from 0.4 per cent the year previous and remaining the same as the last published annualised figures in April 2022. The rate of problem gambling among women have stayed steady, and low, at 0.1 per cent. These rates are low by international standards.

These figures are published around the time of much discussion about the forthcoming white paper that we in the industry strongly support and have long campaigned for

It is essential that we do not do anything that inadvertently drives any of the 22.5 million regular punters away from the regulated industry and into the arms of the unsafe, unregulated and growing gambling black market online.

Most problem gamblers do not suffer from addiction, gambling addiction requires a clinical assessment. The two are often conflated, but they are entirely different.

BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said:

“These newly released figures are yet again further evidence of the positive progress we have made on problem gambling, which is low by international standards and has fallen in recent times, thanks to the many initiatives we have taken including using advertising to promote safer gambling tools like deposit limits and time-outs, as well as other changes we have made to further raise standards.

Around 22.5m adults in the UK bet each month and it is clear once again that the overwhelming majority do so perfectly safely and responsibly. However, one problem gambler is one too many and there is no room for complacency. That’s why our work continues to raise standards across the regulated industry, in marked contrast to dangers posed the unsafe, unregulated and growing online black market.

The latest problem gambling figures will come as a blow to anti-gambling prohibitionists who like to vastly overstate the issues to suit their efforts to treat gambling like tobacco, not like alcohol, but it also provides food for thought for new ministers considering a white paper this autumn. We look forward to the white paper as an opportunity to drive further changes, but the new government should be guided by evidence and seek to carefully target future measures on problem gamblers and those at risk – not intrude on the perfectly safe enjoyment of millions of punters who’s choice of leisure does so much to support jobs and the economy, as well as providing a lifeline for sports like racing”.