SBC News UKGC: Gambling participation remains below pre-pandemic levels

UKGC: Gambling participation remains below pre-pandemic levels

The British public’s participation in gambling activity has ‘significantly increased’ as of September 2022, according to the latest statistics of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

Total ‘in-person’ participation in betting and gaming (retail betting and land-based casino)  – over the previous four weeks rose to 27%, as reported by the Commission’s latest data report, based on its quarterly telephone survey of 4,018 adults aged 16 and over.

The number of people partaking in online gambling also rose, coincidentally also to 27% on the previous year, a continuation of a ‘long-term trend’ noticed by the UKGC over the past 12 months.

Despite both increases, the UKGC maintains that overall participation ‘remains lower than pre-COVID levels’, with ‘two years of disruption and restrictions’ apparently having a lasting impact. 

“Latest data for 2022 indicates that people are starting to return to in-person activities including bingo, horse and dog racing, however, current in-person participation rates remain below pre-pandemic levels. 

“There have been differences observed by age group in terms of those returning to in-person activities, with the in-person participation rate for 16 to 24 year olds closest to their pre-pandemic rate.

“The proportion of people gambling online has significantly increased in this latest data release compared to the previous year, with the long-term trend continuing to show steady growth, like many other sectors.”

Indicative of this trend, 42.9% of respondents in the July survey (the third quarterly study of the year) participated in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks, whilst 25.8% said they partook in online gambling during that time period. 

Regarding online growth, during September the UKGC noted that an noticeable uptick has been observed in the use of web-based National Lottery draws, as well as online slots and instant win games. 

This also falls in line with a long-term trend noted by some commentators, such as MPs, regarding the lottery – some have cited concern that the Lottery is moving more towards an app and web-based service as opposed to retail.

However, regarding instant win games, this increase could soon taper off rapidly, as earlier today it was reported that outgoing National Lottery licence holder Camelot plans to remove instant win titles such as Monopoly and Scrabble to limit its appeal to under-18 consumers.

Providing an overview of problem gambling rates measured using ‘Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI)’ – September 2022  ‘all respondent’ rate remains statistically stable at 0.3% matching 2021 comparatives, and below 2020 pandemic rate of 0.6%. 

Problem gambling rates were measured of a sample size of 4018 respondents, in which the age group of 16-to-24 (male/female) continues to register the highest rate of 1.4% (293 respondents).   

Meanwhile, the moderate and low-risk rate categories continue to be ‘statistically stable’ at 1.1% and 1.8% respectively, compared to September 2021 of moderate risk 0.7% and low risk of 1.9%.

SBC News UKGC: Gambling participation remains below pre-pandemic levels

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