NEW FIGURES CONFIRM DROP IN UK PROBLEM GAMBLING RATES, BUT BGC SAYS WORK TO RAISE STANDARDS CONTINUES
New figures released by the Gambling Commission confirm the rate of problem gambling among UK adults has fallen to 0.2 per cent.
The latest statistics showed the rate of problem gambling in the year to December 2022 was 0.2 per cent – down from 0.3 per cent the year previous, remaining low by international standards.
These latest statistics come as the Government finalises Gambling Reforms, with a new White Paper setting out changes, expected soon.
Around 22.5m adults place a bet each month - whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, having a game of bingo, visiting a casino, playing online or having a wager on football, horseracing and other sports.
Meanwhile the regulated betting and gaming industry contributes £7.1bn to the economy, generates £4.2bn in tax and supports 110,000 jobs.
BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said: “These newly released figures are further evidence of the positive progress we have made on safer gambling and underline our urgent calls for ministers to take a genuinely evidence based approach to the upcoming White Paper.
“These figures showing that problem gambling has fallen once again will no doubt come as a profound disappointment to anti-gambling prohibitionists, who like to vastly overstate the issue.
“Their alarmist demands are not backed up by the evidence. We want big changes, but they must be focussed on this small minority who are vulnerable to harm – not the vast majority who bet safely and responsibly. We need a risk based approach which helps the vulnerable, not ruins the experience for the responsible majority.
“Just under half of all UK adults enjoy a bet each month and it is clear once again that the overwhelming majority to so perfectly safely and responsibly. However, our work to raise standards across the regulated industry will continue, to keep up the momentum and build on the progress we have made in recent years.
“The regulated betting and gaming industry is determined to promote safer gambling, unlike the unsafe, unregulated and growing online black market, which has none of the safeguards which are the norm among BGC members.
“Ministers should not drive customers into the arms of the black market by introducing blanket low level intrusive affordability checks for all punters but rather use technology to target those at risk.
“We welcome these figures but refuse to be complacent. Our mission to drive up standards continues.”
These figures confirm gambling participation rates, and problem gambling rates, remain steady and static with participation still down on 2019 levels.
The BGC strongly support the Gambling Review as a further opportunity to raise standards and promote safer gambling, but any changes introduced by the Government must not drive gamblers towards the growing unsafe, unregulated black market online.
A recent study found the number of customers using unlicensed betting websites has more than doubled, from 210,000 in 2019 to 460,000 in 2020 and the money staked is in the billions.