The way gambling is perceived by the general public has been warped by marketing and the media to create two opposing extremes. On the one hand, the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas as depicted in Hollywood movies and dreams (or, promises?) that one lottery win will change your life for good generates excitement and paints gambling in a positive light. On the other, media outlets love stories about problem gambling and addiction to mobile casino sites that make the industry look predatory and dangerous, but don't like to make people aware of self exclusion meaures like GamStop.
A recent survey by the Gambling Commission into the general public’s relationship with gambling has highlighted some key interesting facts about not only how people engaged with gambling in 2019, but how gamblers and non gamblers perceive the industry and gambling as a whole. We've scanned through the data and have picked out the key stats for you, so read on!
Of the over 4000 people surveyed in December 2019, 47% said that they had gambled in the past 4 weeks, which includes those who have played the National Lottery. This is an increase over the last year’s figures, which could have something to do with the accessibility of mobile gambling sites. That accessibility has made mobile the way to play, with a 6% increase over the last year resulting in 50% of all online gambling being done on mobile devices.
Only 29% of people surveyed agreed that gambling is fair and can be trusted, which is a low number in an industry that is regulated in such a way that games are required to be fair and information regarding the chances of winning are accessible before you even start playing. However, as most of the people who agree that gambling is are gamblers, perhaps a little bit of understanding and education could be the key to improving the public’s outlook?
The number of adults in the UK who are problem gamblers has stayed at a steady 0.5% for the past 3 years, which is 0.2% less than the figure from 2016. It is great news that the industry has been able to keep the number of problem gamblers that low, even are more people are enjoying gambling. This suggests that the message of events like the annual Responsible Gambling Week is getting out to gamblers!
Whilst more people are taking part in gambling, the response to this survey suggests that the public perception of gambling is getting worse. 73% of people questioned believe that gambling is dangerous for family life, which is up from 71% the previous year.
The number of people who agreed that gambling ‘livens up life’ or is ‘good for society’ reduced in 2019 painting a more negative opinion. 62% of the British public believe that gambling should be discouraged, with 29% agreeing with the extreme view that gambling should be banned altogether.
The biggest failure, and one that I think would probably correct a lot of the negative perception about how the industry handles gambling related harm, is that 53% of people are not aware that self-exclusion schemes like GamStop exist.
As the Gambling Commission sets the wheels in motion to make GamStop mandatory for all UK gambling sites, making the public aware that services like this exist would do wonders for their opinion of the gambling industry and how dangerous it is.