Are you aware that you’re gambling?

  • Updated
  • By Max Wright
Are you aware that you're gambling?

Did you know that you might not be aware that you're gambling? When you think of gambling you probably think of betting on sports or horse racing, playing casino games like poker, blackjack and roulette or trying your luck on slot machines. Sounds obviously right? Well, as it turns out, a surprising amount of the country thinks that the gambling activities that they take part in don’t actually count as gambling. 

Dictionary.com defines gambling as ‘the activity or practice of playing at a game of chance for money or other stakes', which includes bingo, the national lottery and scratch cards alongside all the things we mentioned above.

A recent study by YouGov for the Industry Group For Responsible Gambling has revealed that of the 2,000 adults surveyed in the UK and Ireland, only 10% of them consider themselves gamblers. 

However, contrary to that, 1 in 2 of those surveyed said that they buy lottery tickets, 1 in 3 buy scratch cards and 1 in 5 bet on sports events. This is down to a lack of understanding, as over 40% of the British public have the same misconceptions about other ‘softer’ gambling activities.

42% of those surveyed think that playing machine games at a seaside arcade does not count as gambling, whilst 40% do not believe that playing bingo does either. 33% do not think that the national lottery is a gambling activity, which possibly due to the positive perception that people have of lottery funded events and causes.

The data suggests that the UK public isn’t completely clued up on its own gambling habits, which is worrying. This also suggests that the negative perceptions of gambling are not applied to ‘softer’ activities like buying a weekly lottery ticket or activities that are considered fun, like bingo.

This opinion that certain types of gambling are harmless and others are not is dangerous, as all types of gambling could form a habit or have a negative effect on someones life.

In terms of responsible gambling, it’s important when you think about your gambling habits to ask yourself: are you factoring in these ‘softer’ activities? You may self exclude yourself from online casinos and limit your online gambling time using a reality check, but are you still entering the lottery every week or buying scratch cards every time you get to the tills? 

Catch up on all of our RGW19 content:

If you’re at all worried about your gambling habits then please visit Gamcare for advice and support. Remember to check out the week of RGWeek2019 content by visiting @RGWeek19 and using the hashtag #RGWeek19.

We have a number of playing guides that can help you identify a gambling problem or assist you with gambling responsibly: