GC survey: GB problem gambling levels drop to 0.3%

The percentage of the 4,009 Yonder phone survey respondents who were classed as problem gamblers – using the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) – was 0.3%. This was down from 0.6% in the September 2020 edition of the survey, while in the June 2021 edition of the survey this figure was 0.4%.

The report also found a statistically significant decline in problem gambling levels just among males, where the rate dropped from 0.8% to 0.3%.

The percentage of the population at moderate risk of gambling harm also dropped by a significant amount year-on-year, to 0.7%, though this level was the same as recorded in June.

The portion of people classed as being at a low risk of harm was less than in 2020, but the difference was within the margin of error.

The total portion of people at risk was 2.9%, compared to 4.0% a year earlier.

The problem gambling rate – as well as the overall rate of people at any level of risk – was the joint-lowest recorded in the Gambling Commission’s data going back to 2016.

This decline in gambling harm came despite levels of overall gambling remaining fairly stable, with 42.0% of respondents reporting gambling during the four weeks prior to the survey. However, this figure was still notably below 2019, when 46.7% reported gambling.

Of those who did gamble, more people said they did so infrequently, with 18.0% of gamblers reporting they did so less than once a month. 

Excluding the National Lottery, 28.3% of people said they gambled in the previous four weeks.

Online gambling, meanwhile, rose in popularity, with a new high of 25.0% of people reporting gambling online, or 17.7% without the National Lottery. On the other hand, in-person gambling levels dropped from 28.6% to 23.9%, and were a long way below the pre-pandemic level of 34.9%.

The National Lottery remained easily the most popular gambling product, with 26.5% of the population playing. Meanwhile, 7.8% played scratchcards and 12.8% other lotteries. 

Bingo, football pools and gaming machines in bookmakers – such as fixed-odds betting terminals – all saw statistically significant declines in play.

In addition, 3.4% of people said they played slots and 5.6% bet on sports.

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