December 4, 2019 3 min read


NHS Releases Figures about Gambling Behavior in the UK

The National Healthy Service has released a survey cautioning against the adverse effect of over-use of smartphones in connection to gambling habits.

NHS Reports on How Mobile Phones Affect Gambling Behavior

The National Health Service (NHS) has revealed new numbers, pointing to growing addiction among UK adults due to smartphones. According to the research conducted by the NHS, handheld devices invited increasingly addictive behavior.

NHS boss Simon Stevens warned that gambling companies were adopting aggressive marketing tactics, baiting consumers into playing. He spoke in front of the government, as the ruling Tories pledged more action to curb gambling addiction.

Based on the Health Survey of England, smartphones are becoming increasingly important to young people. The research focused on interviewing 10,000 people, and the numbers showed that 29% of men between 25 and 34 gambled online at least one in the 12 months leading up to the research. Meanwhile, only 6% of individuals aged 65 and over participated in online gambling.

The survey also showed a gender gap whereby 15% of men participated in online gambling whereas only 4% of women did. Interestingly, the youngest men, aged between 16 and 24, are the most likely to be classified as problem gamblers, with the incidence rate at 1.9% compared to 0.4% of the general population.

The full data about gambling behavior in the United Kingdom can be seen at the UK Gambling Commission’s website.

Over Half of British Adults Gamble

The survey uncovered more data showing that at least 53% of all adults have partaken in some form of gambling in the 12 months leading up to the study. Around 14% are bets placed on the National Lottery, the study showed.

Men aged 25 and 34 were the most likely to gamble with the incidence rate at 56%. Commenting on the latest numbers, Stevens had this to say:

“These new statistics are a stark reminder of how common gambling is in our society, and how easy it is to become addicted, particularly with the aggressive push into online gambling.”

Stevens confirmed that the NHS is prepared to do more and treat gambling addiction. In fact, the NHS has already begun launching clinics focused on treating children, young adults, and anyone who may need help.

However, Stevens also reminded that the key ingredient to success is to have gambling firms who are actively trying to avoid creating such problems. Carrying on, the NHS boss called for the entities involved to take up responsibility:

“It is high time that all these firms who spend many millions on marketing and advertising step up to the plate and take their responsibilities seriously.”

Mobile Gambling Fuels Addiction

Mobile phone addiction has interestingly led to gambling addiction, Campaign for Fairer Gambling Matt Zarb-Cousin estimates. He reminded that many young people were in the habit of placing bets on the Grand National or the Lottery.

However, the accessibility of mobile gambling could very well lead to addiction, Zarb-Cousin cautioned. Young men are particularly prone to developing a reckless gambling habit, he further specified, adding:

“These figures should act as a wake-up call to the Government to regulate the stakes and prizes online. They also need to tackle advertising to reduce the visibility of gambling advertisements, which serve to normalize it and have a really negative impact on children growing up.”

Meanwhile, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has joined by saying that gambling can have devastating effects and gambling-related harm must be taken seriously. The 2005 Gambling Act now needs to be revisited and re-thought so it’s adequate for the digital age.

Hancock reminded that the government is planning to introduce the 12 gambling clinics across the country in a bid to reduce, and hopefully eliminate gambling-related issues.


Simon is a freelance writer who specializes in gambling news and has been an author in the poker/casino scene for 10+ years. He brings valuable knowledge to the team and a different perspective, especially as a casual casino player.

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