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Only 10% Of UK People Consider Themselves Gamblers, New Study Finds

Online Betting

A new YouGov survey commissioned by the Industry Group For Responsible Gambling (IGRG) has found that only 10% of people who gamble regularly consider themselves gamblers.

The poll questioned over 2,000 adults throughout the UK about their gambling habits over the last 12 months and was published this week to coincide with Responsible Gambling Week (November 7th – 13th). According to the report, only 10% of those surveyed considered themselves gamblers despite one in three purchasing scratchcards, one in two buying lottery tickets, and one in five betting on sports events and games.

According to the poll’s results, many of those surveyed had difficulty defining what gambling is as 42% of those surveyed said they did not consider machines games in arcades as gambling. What’s more, 40% claimed that playing at a bingo club wasn’t gambling and that playing the lottery (33%) or buying scratchcards (29%) did not constitute gambling.

When quizzed on responsible gambling, around 77% of those surveyed said they have enough information to gamble safely while another 59% felt that responsible gambling campaigns were important. They also suggested that a responsible gambling campaign was more important than campaigns promoting active lifestyles (55%), a smoke-free environment (55%), safe sex (54%), and healthy eating (53%).

The YouGov survey also revealed that 35% of those surveyed expect operators to provide information about responsible gambling when they register at a site or begin to play. Around 20% of the respondents stated they would find it most useful if the operator contacted them directly with responsible gambling information via telephone or email.

The report also revealed which safer gambling messages gamblers found most relevant with 55% stating that the message “Only spend what you can afford” helped them most. Other relevant messages included “Set your limit” (40%), “Never chase your losses” (39%), “Gambling is not the answer to any problem” (36%), “Gambling shouldn’t interfere with personal relationships” (32%), and “Gambling when angry or upset is not a good idea” (30%).

What They Say

John Hagan, Chairman of the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG), said in a statement: “This research highlights the importance of educating everyone about the importance of safer gambling, including those who think the messages do not apply to them.

“Every problem gambler is someone who once thought they didn’t have a problem. Most people gamble responsibly and purely for enjoyment, but we want safer gambling messages, such as setting time limits, to become as instinctive as putting on a seatbelt when you get into a car.”

He continued: “Promoting safer gambling is a year-round responsibility, which operators and their staff take very seriously. The poll shows there is a strong support for a public education campaign and the objective of Responsible Gambling Week is to educate people about safer gambling, but the campaign is just one aspect of the work being done by the industry throughout the year to protect its customers.”

The report comes just days after a group of cross-party MPs called for an overhaul of current online gambling regulations, with the group urging the government to implement a maximum bet limit on online slot machines. The all-party parliamentary group also called for limitations on VIP accounts and for the end of credit card usage at online casinos.

The news caused shares in gambling firms to drop this week and led several top UK gambling firms to announce their commitment to five new responsible gambling measures to protect players and crackdown on misleading marketing. The firms hope the new measures will prevent the government from imposing its own strict regulations.

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