Criticism of Online Gambling Levels Continue

A new survey has shown that there has been a rise of 3 per cent in gambling activity in the UK. This compares the first quarters of 2021 and 2022.

The survey was carried out by Yonder consulting and used a sample of 4,018 adults. 43.3 per cent said they’d gambled in one way or another in the past four weeks. There has also been an increase in the in-person gambling participation rate. That’s gone up to 26 per cent. Bookmakers, casinos and bingo halls are all open now which wasn’t the case at times last year. The percentage is still below pre-pandemic figures.

When it comes to the levels of gambling harm, the figures are stable but falling for male gamblers. Online gambling continues to be popular with just over a quarter of people saying they had used the internet for gambling purposes.

The UK Addiction Treatment Group (AKAT) pointed out that there had been a big increase in the number of 18-24s gambling online. The survey had produced a figure of 34.7 per cent who had had gambled in the past four weeks. Also revealed was the fact just short of 50 per cent of those in the 55-64 age group had been gambling online in the previous four-week period.

The consultant treatment lead at UKAT is Nuno Albuquerque. Discussing the results of the survey he said that the rate of those at moderate risk of gambling addiction is rising. He said that for a lot of people, “gambling isn’t a harmless hobby” and his group has seen the damage gambling can cause people.

He was particularly critical of online gambling. This was described by him as “dangerous” as it is “too easy and discreet to participate in.” He added that the group wanted to “join the chorus of voices” that are calling for the gambling laws to be reformed. Affordability checks and a total ban on gambling advertisements are measures that AKAT want to see implemented.

GambleAware have said that there should be a mandatory 1 per cent levy on gross gambling yield (GGY). They believe that there is “a potential increased risk of people experiencing gambling harm” and have published six principles that would change the gambling industry.

Their belief is that the 1 per cent levy would help raise £140m a year to be spent on treatment, prevention and research of gambling harm. Many companies in the gambling industry already do make contributions but GambleAware say that rather than this being done voluntarily, it should be mandatory and a condition of the licence they hold.

Their CEO is Zoë Osmond and she is also concerned about online gambling levels. She says that without action being taken now, “many more people and families could suffer.”

Other principles they are suggesting include supporting deprived communities, delivering local prevention and treatment services and the use of a “data-led and innovation-driven” approach. GambleAware also want there to be a “coalition of expertise” and for the investments made by the gambling industry to undergo examination in terms of health, the environment, social and governance lens.