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Gambling Commission quarterly survey shows mixed results from UK participants

The overall perception of gambling in the UK has improved, according to the latest quarterly survey carried out by the under-fire Gambling Commission. 

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While the percentage of the UK population participating in gambling activity is still below pre-pandemic levels, respondents’ attitudes towards gambling, on the whole, have eased. 

In a wide-ranging survey, conducted via telephone with 4,021 participants, the Gambling Commission found 36% of those who gambled over the past 12 months believed gambling “in this country is conducted fairly and can be trusted.” This has increased from 32% last year. 

However, statements such as “there are too many opportunities for gambling nowadays,” “gambling is dangerous for family life,” “gambling should be discouraged” and “gambling should be banned altogether” all received more positive responses year-on-year. 

The percentage of those gamblers in the ‘at-risk’ category has fallen, on the whole. Low-risk gamblers make up 1.9%, compared with 2% in 2020 and 2.7% in 2019. Those at moderate risk fell to 0.8%, from 1.2% two years ago, while problem gamblers made up 0.3% of the population, compared with 0.6% in 2019. 

The Gambling Commission’s definition of problem gambling is “gambling to a degree that compromises, disrupts, or damages family, personal or recreational pursuits.” 

Survey results also revealed overall gambling remains down on pre-pandemic levels.  

Of the adults surveyed, 43% said they participated in some form of gambling in December 2021, which was comparable year-on-year. This falls to 29% when National Lottery is excluded, a number that is down from 47.2% in 2019.  

There has, however, been an increase in those gambling online. Although it has come at the expense of in-person betting, which is expected when considering lockdowns due to the pandemic, online gambling has grown at roughly the same rate since 2017.  

Those gambling online reached 25.3% in 2021, up from 23.6% in 2020 and 21.1% in 2019.  

Sports betting, either online or in-person, remained stable, at 5.3% of the population.


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