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UK gambling participation below pre-pandemic levels despite 3% rise

Gambling participation rates in Britain have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to figures released by the Gambling Commission.

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For the year to March 2022, overall participation rose from 40% to 43%, four percentage points shy of the 47% recorded for the year to March 2020.

And analysis of the Gambling Commission’s data conducted by the UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT) shows that this year-on-year increase was led primarily by younger gamblers.

For the 12 months to March 2021, roughly 30% of 16 to 24-year-olds had gambled in the past four weeks, but for the latest reporting period, this figure had risen to almost 35%.

However, while participation in general remains below pre-pandemic levels, more Brits than ever are gambling online, with approximately one in four UK gamblers going digital.

For the year to March 2022, more than 25% of those surveyed had gambled online in the past four weeks, up from 24% year-on-year.

In addition, the 55 to 64-year-old age group surpassed their pre-pandemic participation rate, rising from nearly 49% to 50%.

While this news may be welcomed by some, Nuno Albuquerque, Consultant Treatment Lead at UKAT, was wary about any increase in online gambling, vehemently decrying the activity’s rise.

“Online gambling in particular is dangerous as it is too easy and discreet to participate in,” said Albuquerque.

“We join the chorus of voices who say that this country’s gambling laws are in urgent need of reform.”

He added: “We believe the Government’s white paper of reform is in its final stages and we are keen to see what comes of it.”

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