A new report from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has revealed that 54 percent of all English adults gambled at some point last year.
The 2018 Health Survey for England found that English people drink too much alcohol, are overweight, have poor diets, do not exercise properly, and gamble at excessive levels. Participation was described at some point during the last year as having “spent money” on the event, with adults being deemed to be over 16 years of age.
The study found that when the National Lottery is included, 54 percent had participated, while when the lottery is omitted, the figure drops to 40 percent.
In England, the legal age to play the lottery is 16, while in order to enter a casino or make a sports bet, one must be 18.
In recent years, the NHS Healthy Survey for England reported similar levels of gambling. The turnout was actually slightly higher at 56 percent in 2016, down from 62 percent in 2015. Gambling was included in the 2012 annual report for the first time. In that study, 68% of men and 61% of women said they had played at least once in the last 12 months at the time.
Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, said of 2019: “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.”
Online gambling is popular with men, with 15 percent say they’ve been involved, while only four percent say they’ve made a bet on the internet. In addition to increasing its mental health services to help combat addiction, the NHS is calling on gaming firms to reduce their targeted marketing for younger people.
The age group with the highest rate of participation in betting when the National Lottery is exempted is the 25-24 generation, which consists of millennials. The class of 35-44 is next, and the fifth range of 45-54.
The UK Gambling Commission’s Committees of Advertising Practice released new guidelines in February that prohibit gambling ads from being shown on websites where 25 percent or more of their traffic comes from children or teenagers. The prohibition also forbids the use of actors who claim to be under 25 years of age by gambling companies.
Gambling in England is not exactly shocking relative to levels in other big countries. Around two-thirds of U.S. adults are reported to be playing at least once a year, whether it’s a lottery ticket, a casino outing, or a bingo game.
Australia has had one of the highest participation rates in gambling for a long time. Every year, more than three out of four Aussie adults are gambling. The Australian Institute for Family Studies reports Down Under–28 percent of the population–has 6.8 million daily gamblers.