UK Gambling Participation Compared To Pre-Pandemic Times

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published the results of its most recent survey on gambling engagement and prevalence, covering data for the year up until September 2022. The information was compiled using results from a quarterly telephone poll administered by Yonder Consulting on behalf of the Gambling Commission. During the months of December 2021, March 2022, June 2022, and September 2022, a group of 4018 persons aged 16 and older that represented the overall population participated in a telephone interview.

According to the data from the UKGC, the number of British citizens actively engaging in gambling has “significantly increased” since September 2022. The report further states that participation in all forms of gambling remained consistent at 44% compared to the corresponding time in 2021 and is now very close to its pre-pandemic peak of 47%. 

During the preceding four weeks, the percentage of people who gambled ‘in person,’ which includes retail betting and land-based casinos, increased to 27%, but as per the survey, this is still lower than it was before the pandemic. Despite these upward trends, the UKGC claims that total involvement “remains lower than pre-COVID levels,” an effect caused by the “two years of disruption and restrictions.”

To ensure that gambling is conducted fairly and in accordance with the law, the United Kingdom relies on the Gambling Commission, an executive non-departmental public organization. The scope of its authority extends to online and remote gambling as well as traditional arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, slot machines, and lotteries. The Commission took over responsibility for overseeing the National Lottery in 2013 after having succeeded the Gaming Board for Great Britain in 2007.

The Commission reported an increase in online National Lottery drawings, online slots, and instant win games during the month of September 2022. Participation in non-lottery games among respondents remained steady at 28.4%. 

The majority of the increase in the gambling rate appears to be attributable to the National Lottery, where the percentage of respondents who had played increased from 26.5% to 28.7%. The National Lottery, which began operations in 1994, is a government-licensed lottery that is currently operated by the Camelot Group. 

Online gaming with trending new slots in the UK is also widely popular and has led to a statistically significant increase in overall online gambling participation, from 3.4% to 4.6%. In-person gambling on slot machines, bookmaker gaming terminals such as fixed odds betting terminals [FOBTs], and bingo also rose significantly. Sports betting, however, fell from 5.6% of all gambling to 4.5%. 

The overall rate of problem gambling was 0.3%, the same as in September of 2021, according to the research. A year ago, only 0.4% of young adults (16-24) had a problem with gambling. Today, that number is 1.4%. Some experts didn’t think the change was substantial, though, because the sample size was only 293. An increased rate of moderate harm (1.1% compared to 0.7% the previous year) was observed. 

Additionally, the percentage of people who experienced low-level harm decreased to 1.8% from 1.9% in 2021, resulting in an overall harm level of 3.2%, an increase from the 2.9% recorded in 2020. A total of 6.7% of people aged 16–24 experienced harm, up from 4.9% the year before. While the problem gambling rate was 0.4% among males, it was only 0.1% among females.

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission came to a conclusion, based on the most recent statistics available for 2022, that individuals are beginning to return to in-person activities such as bingo, horse races, and dog races. On the other hand, in-person participation rates are still lower than before the pandemic.


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