UK Study Shows Increased Gambling Opportunities Does Not Lead to Increased Gambling

by Lou on September 19, 2007

Study Shows Drop in Gaming
A Gambling Prevalence Study conducted in the United Kingdom shows a drop in the number of adults that gambled within the past year.

Sixty-eight percent of the population—about 32 million adults—gambled during 2006. This compares to 72 percent of the UK population who gambled in 1999.

The number of online gamblers was much smaller than I expected, with only three percent of all gamblers using the internet for online poker and casino games and four percent using the internet to place bets with a bookmaker.

Online Gaming is Still a Very Small Piece of the Pie
Online gaming in the UK is miniscule when compared to the National Lottery, with 57 percent of the population participating. Even when compared to scratch cards at 20 percent, horseracing at 17 percent, and slot machines at 14 percent, online gaming is only a tiny piece of the pie.

When you dig into the figures, it’s clear that problem gambling did not increase over the last eight years, despite a rapid growth in online gaming.

Problem Gamblers Still Fewer than 1 Percent of the Population

The results showed little change in problem gamblers in the UK, with numbers hovering around 0.6 percent of the adult population. That’s the same percentage that was recorded in 1999, the last gambling participation survey in the UK. It was also way before the emergence of online gaming opportunities in the UK and most of the rest of the world.

This survey was carried out by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen). Its aim is to measure participation in gambling, estimate the level of problem gambling and the factors associated with it and to explore the public’s attitude towards gambling.

Since the 1999 survey the nature of gambling in Britain has changed with an increase in the number of gambling products available, yet no increase in gamblers or problem gamblers.

If You Believe that More Gambling = More Social Problems, Read this Report

This is a message that should be hammered home to American anti-gaming forces, who are fond of harping on the message that more gaming means more gamblers and more problem gamblers. In the UK, at least, it simply isn’t so.

“The key message is that overall there has been surprisingly little change either in the number of gambling participants or to the number of problem gamblers since 1999,” said Peter Dean, the Gambling Commission’s Chairman.

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