Posted on: February 23, 2022, 09:00h.
Last updated on: February 23, 2022, 10:28h.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) released updated findings on how British citizens view the gambling industry. The results may surprise those who have fought against the industry for years.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) conducts periodic surveys to better understand the gambling industry in the country from consumers’ points of view.
It just released the results of its latest survey, which covers the analysis of data from 2021. Apart from demonstrating an improvement in the perception of gambling, the findings also show that the regulator is potentially working itself out of business.
UK Gambling Perception Changing
The survey, led by Yonder Consulting, determined that 36% of respondents believe the UK gambling market provides fair operations. This is an increase from the 28.8% noted a year earlier. It also represents a steady increase across all of 2021, which began the year at 32%.
In December 2020, 75% of the respondents indicated that “gambling is dangerous for family life.” A year later, that figure dropped to 70%. There is also increased sentiment that gambling doesn’t need to be discouraged. 63% felt it should be in December 2020, but this dropped to 59% in the latest survey.
“This is the first year where we have seen a switch towards more positive perceptions of gambling,” stated the UKGC in publishing its survey results.
It’s worth highlighting a couple of factors that may impact the survey’s results. The study was done via telephone and only to 4,021 adults. In addition, the quarterly surveys also have to consider sentiment changes because of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Problem Gambling Virtually Unmeasurable
At 43%, overall gambling activity was statistically stable during the full-year period ending December 2021. This compares almost equally to the same period in 2020. Also, the figures did not show any return to pre-COVID-19 rates. This, the UKGC asserts, shows the continuing impact of the pandemic.
With almost half of the population participating in some form of gambling, the rate of problem gambling is virtually nonexistent. The survey showed that, for full-year 2021, the “overall problem gambling rate is statistically stable at 0.3%.”
The “moderate risk” group remained stable as well at 0.8%. The “low risk” group hovers at around 1.9%, just like it did a year earlier. All of these results are “significant decreases” from the previous report in September of last year.
The frequency of participation in gambling activity also dropped. For example, the National Lottery still draws a lot of attention, but scratch cards aren’t as popular. Overall, there was a decrease in the number of people who placed at least one wager a week, as well as the total number who bet at least once a month.
The data shows that the UKGC’s efforts to combat problem gambling, along with operators’ increased focus, are working. However, it also shows that there’s no strong argument to introduce additional restrictions. Perhaps lawmakers and regulators will consider that before releasing the UK’s new gambling rules.