UK Gambling Problems On Increase


Dormant account
May 12, 2007
NOT Pennsylvania!!!
Nearly three-quarters of Britons engaged in gambling last year, a survey has concluded.

The survey of 7,756 people done for the Gambling Commission found the amount of betting has increased to levels last seen in the late 1990s.

The proportion of what the regulator calls "problem gamblers" has also increased.

The report estimates that 451,000 people have issues with betting, a rise on previous surveys in 2007 and 1999.

The analysis, entitled The British Gambling Prevalence Survey, was drawn up by experts at the National Centre for Social Research.

It found the number of people gambling in the UK is on the rise.

Nearly three-quarters of adults - 73% - gambled in the previous year, a rise from the 63% who were betting at the time of the last report in 2007.

The vast majority of people told the survey authors they did it "because it's fun" and because there was a "chance of winning big money".

People in Great Britain are gambling in a wide range of ways, they discovered, but the analysts found that only a relatively small proportion of gaming was happening online.

The most popular way of having a flutter continues to be the National Lottery, with nearly 60% of UK adults buying a ticket last year.

By contrast, the report found football pools have dropped massively in popularity over the last decade, from 9% of the population predicting score and no-score draws in 1999 to just 4% in 2010.
"Problem" gambling

The statisticians used two different and complex systems for measuring if a gambler had a "problem".

But they looked for a variety of behaviours ranging from "chasing losses" - making more bets in a desperate attempt to win back money already lost - ranging up to robbery to fund a gambling habit.

Gambling Commission chairman Brian Pomeroy said that a "small but probably growing" proportion of the British population has serious problems with gambling.

He said it reinforced the commission's determination to regulate gambling to "minimise the risk to those individuals and to ensure that the majority of people can continue to gamble safely".

But the Salvation Army, which has lobbied against the gambling industry in recent years, called for government action to halt its expansion.

There were now too many problem gamblers in the country said a spokesman, and British society was in danger of being "de-sensitised to the problems that gambling can bring."


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001
Business in Sport and Leisure (BISL) notes the findings of The Gambling Commission’s 2010 British Gambling Prevalence Survey and the following key points:

* Participation in gambling has increased in the UK to 35.5 million people – a 10% increase since 2007

* Fewer than 1 in 100 of the adult population has a problem with their gambling

* That 78% of people who gamble do so because it is fun

* The Survey reaffirms that gambling is an increasingly mainstream leisure activity in the UK

However, the Survey also shows that there has been an increase in problem gambling. Whilst any rise in the level of problem gambling is a cause for concern, BISL further notes that this rise is only at the margins of statistical significance.

More detailed analysis is required to understand this fully.

Dominic Harrison, CEO of BISL said, “The survey shows that gambling remains a fun activity for the vast majority of adults in the UK. However any level of problem gambling is a challenge which needs to be tackled. BISL is committed to continuing its work with its member companies, Government, the Gambling Commission, GamCare, GREaT, the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board and the academic community to help address and deal with problem gambling.”

The gambling industry makes significant and concerted efforts to tackle problem gambling each year ranging from voluntary donations of some £5 million to fund research, education and treatment to operating rigorous codes of conduct in line with the highest standards of social responsibility. The structures that now exist with the GREaT Foundation and the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board enable resources to be focused directly onto those people that need it most.


You type well loads
Oct 14, 2004
United Kingdom
It's the marketing they need to look at. Advertising for gambling has increased massively of late, and the national lottery game, once a single weekly draw, has become several draws each week, plus a huge array of scratchcard games.
HOW gambling is advertised and portrayed is a factor in encouraging people to try it for the first time. Advertising ALWAYS focuses on the WINNING, with "having fun" at some cost, and the fact that you stand to lose in the end, barely getting a mention.
Online casinos and poker are now "all over" the post 9pm TV schedules, in advertising, program sponsorship, live coverage of poker, and even live coverage of a roulette wheel for around 5 hours a night (supercasino).

It is much EASIER to gamble now than it has been in the past, and this makes it EASIER for the problem gambler to end up with an even BIGGER problem, as well as for the borderline cases to find themselves in a "problem situation" before they realise it.

Rather than any form of prohibition, the government need to make sure that promotions for gambling are HONEST, and do NOT mislead potential players into believing that winning is easy, and "nobody" ever really loses out.

Learning from the US, they should NOT try to BAN offshore casinos, but they CAN provide information about how reliable certain offshore operations are. This can be achieved by having the gambling commission investigate complaints about offshore operators, and using this to rate their reliablilty, perhaps in a manner similar to how trading standards provide lists of "vetted" traders. Operators who generate undue levels of complaints should be placed on an official government "rogue list". Whilst this would not stop players from playing there, it WILL make those who do a bit of research aware that the UK government has warned against them, which might carry more weight than any website that says otherwise. Hopefully, the threat of appearing on a UK government "rogue list" will encourage the industry to clean up ahead of it's implementation.


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001
Good post VWM.

The media tends to pounce on the problem gambling aspect, and I think calls for a more precise definition of what constitutes a problem gambler are right on the money.

Yet this has not yet been effectively addressed and we are still left with a very broad and perhaps imprecise description that includes 'people showing indications of a potential problem' instead of hard figures that can be of practical value in fighting this menace.

Yet even so, it is right to keep this downside of gambling in perspective but front-of-mind.

The increase in problem gambling is I think around .3 of a percent and, at .9 percent is still under the 1 percent mark (hence the BISL comment of 1 in 100 gamblers) And assessed by this study using another method the rate is lower at .5 percent to .7 percent. In 2007 it was .6 of a percent if I recall correctly.

As the survey company notes "this is not statistically significant," but it's in line with findings in Europe, although lower than rates in Australia, South Africa and the USA.

Statistics will always be used to prove or disprove a particular point of view, but I found the fact that online gambling is still only 14 percent of Brits who gamble illustrates the slow but imprssive growth potential of the market, even in a government-regulated environment.

That's an increase of just 5 percent in online gambling over a period of three years, and if you extract the lottery component it shrinks even further.

Online gambling has increased by 5 percent since the last study in 2007, compared with growth in other wagering genres over the same period of 24pc on scratchcards; 9 percent on other events; other lotteries 24 pc; horseracing 16 pc. And again much of that has been on lottery bets.

The other thing I find interesting is that the gamble of choice remains, as it has for years, the lottery....although the popularity of other forms of gambling does appear to be widening.