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Silvia Pavlof November 24, 2023 3 min read
New Data Reveals Alarming Increase in UK Problem Gambling Rates
Data indicates that around 2.5% of the adult population in Britain, roughly equating to an estimated 1.3 million individuals, might be facing challenges associated with gambling
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has unveiled new figures indicating that rates of problem gambling in the United Kingdom may be more than eight times higher than previously estimated. The Commission, which had previously suggested that only 0.3% of adults in Great Britain were affected, released what it termed as “higher quality” figures based on an updated methodology.
New Data Reveals Alarming Scale of Gambling Issues Among 2.5% of UK Adults
The revised data suggests that approximately 2.5% of the adult British population, equivalent to an estimated 1.3 million people, may be grappling with gambling-related issues. The commission, however, has yet to provide its own population estimate and plans to conduct a more extensive survey over an extended period in the future.
Individuals are identified as suffering from problem gambling based on the problem gambling severity index, a measure that considers factors such as borrowing money or selling possessions to bet and facing financial difficulties due to gambling.
Stuart Andrew, the gambling minister, remarked that the new survey indicated a higher quality portrayal of gambling participation and harm than had been seen before. He is overseeing a government review of gambling regulations that is anticipated to introduce stricter protection measures, new stake limits for online slot machines, and a mandatory levy on betting firms to fund addiction treatment.
MPs Advocate Urgent Industry Action as New Figures Uncover Higher Problem Gambling Rates
The chair of a cross-parliamentary group of MPs examining gambling harm, Carolyn Harris, expressed little surprise at the indications that problem gambling rates could be higher than previously thought, reported The Guardian. She urged the industry to take note of these figures, emphasizing that it should be as eager to address the issue as it has been to cite figures showing lower addiction rates.
The UKGC acknowledged that the methodology used to calculate the higher figure was experimental but stressed that it had refined the process over three stages. It anticipates adopting the methodology formally next year, potentially resulting in a substantial and enduring increase in the headline problem gambling rate used by the government to shape policies.
The disagreement over the appropriate way to measure problem gambling has been a consistent point of contention between reform advocates and certain segments of the industry. The commission’s move to embrace a new and refined methodology could bring about a significant shift in how the government addresses the issue.
In addition to the revelation about problem gambling rates, the Commission’s survey of 4,000 people over two months found that a significant portion of respondents gambled with the hope of winning substantial sums of money rather than for entertainment. These findings are expected to add fuel to the ongoing debate over gambling regulations.