How Does The UK Problem Gambling And Spends Change?

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Article by : Helen Oct 29, 2020

12,161 people were surveyed from 24 September to 13 October in 2019. The second phase of this survey was conducted in May and 9,067 people were those who took part in the first phase. This survey was conducted by YouGov and the figures were weighted by UK demographic data. The results show the decline of general gambling rates in the United Kingdom over the lockdown period. At the same time, the medium customer spends and problem gambling rates have declined as well.

In order to measure problem gambling, the Problem Gambling Severity Index was used. A short paper self-completion questionnaire that relates to gambling thoughts and habits is given to participants. Those who have no more than 2 affirmative answers are considered to be at low risk of gambling problems. Having from 3 to 7 positive statements people belong in the medium-risk category, while at high risk are those who have more than 8 affirmative statements.

Gambling participation fell by 10% from October 2019 and in May 2020 it reached 39%. 4% of the participants in the survey said that they were gambling more than usual during the lockdown. A huge number of people, around 41%, said they gambled less, while 52% of responders claimed the time they spent playing games almost unchanged.

The second phase of this survey shows that 20% of those who previously had at least 8 affirmative statements on the PGSI started playing even more. 47% of responders gambled roughly the same, while 27% gambled less.

The figures also changed among the low-risk players but the difference is quite significant. 50% of them gambled less, while 9% only were gambling much often. Among those who were at medium risk of gambling problems, the changes are the following: 46% gambled less and 12% more.

When it comes to gambling spendings, the results were the following: during the lockdown, only 3% spent more, 51% spent the same amount as usual, and 41% of responders spent less. An overall picture of the survey conducted in May shows that the vast majority of gamblers started spending less.

Another interesting question is what gambling and betting brands are the most popular in the UK? So, the top three brands are National Lottery, EuroMillions, and Health Lottery. Despite being one of the most popular types of gambling, the percentage of people who gambled the National Lottery fell from 36% to 27%. There is one more form of gambling – Scratchcards – that is in demand among the UK players. Anyway, the number of Scratchcards players also declined from 10% to 7%.

In the past years, the vast majority of the general public have played online casino games and video slots. During the lockdown online games became more popular and, for this reason, the percentage of casino gamblers increased from 1.5% to 2.3%. Though an increase isn’t significant, it is still the only gambling sector that doesn’t grasp the full extent of decreasing.

Talking about the UK spends on gambling, on average, the British people spend around £2.6 per week and approximately £135.20 per year.

In short, an overall decline can be seen in the gambling sector, and one of the reasons might be the lockdown and pandemic. Anyway, we can’t say it is the major reason as far as the negative changes started to appear in 2019 before the pandemic. The total number of employees in 2019 was 98,174 while 6 months earlier it was 106,000. 20% of Brits say that they gamble twice a week where the bigger part of responders is represented by males.


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