Figures from the new Health Survey for England indicate that around 13% of the country’s population wagered online with a bookmaker in 2018, with the percentage of people who went through the match falling to 51% overall.
The Health Survey also measured problem gambling rates using two different measures–DSM-IV and PGSI–which both recorded rates below the generally accepted 0.7 percent rate. The problem gambling rate for 2018 was reported as 0.5% of the population under DSM-IV, with men more likely to have problems than women (0.7% vs. 0.3%). Using the PGSI standard, the problem gambling rate is 0.4%, with men again 0.6% higher than women 0.1%.
The PGSI also indicated that a 0.8% of the population could be rated as gamblers with a “moderate risk.” The figure for Great Britain as a whole (not just England) was significantly higher at 1.1 percent in 2016.
Since the funding for the National Gambling Prevalence Survey, the last of which was in 2010, the NHS has integrated questions on gambling into its health surveys. Since then, to track the impact of gambling in society, the Gambling Commission has focused on the Health Survey.
Considering that the 2010 study showed much higher DSM-IV issue gambling prevalence rates for the entire population of 1.5% for men, 0.3% for women and 0.9% overall, and PGSI recorded rates of 1.3% for men, 0.2% for women and 0.7% overall, this could be viewed as good news.
Nonetheless, NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens still used the data to lobby the gambling industry for more money. On Tuesday he told the media: “These new stats 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.
“The NHS never stands still as health needs change, which is why we’re rolling out new specialist services to tackle mental ill health linked to gambling addiction, as part of our long-term plan.
“But 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.”
Other figures from the report show a range of gambling participation depending on product:
- Online betting with a bookmaker – 13% of population
- Betting exchange – 2%
- Horse races (not online) – 10%
- Dog races (not online) – 3%
- Sports events (not online) – 7%
- Other events (not online) – 3%
- Spread betting – 1%
- Private betting – 6%
- Football pools – 5%
- Bingo (not online) – 3%
- Slot machines – 8%
- Machines in a bookmakers – 4%
- Casino table games (not online) – 4%
- Poker played in pubs or clubs – 1%
- Online gambling on slots, casino or bingo games – 4%