The Worrying New Data Surrounding UK Problem Gambling Rates

Problem Gambling Rates

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New data announced by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) indicates that the problem gambling rates in the UK may be a lot higher than previously believed. The data highlights that approximately 2.5% of adults in Britain (that's about 1.3 million people) may be facing gambling concerns.

Eight times higher than estimated

The updated methodology has established new figures concerning problem gambling rates, as previous reports suggested that 0.3% of adults in Britain were affected. Worryingly, the new data suggest it is actually eight times higher than this figure.

The debate about the best way to measure problem gambling is not a new disagreement and has been an ongoing concern between different parts of the industry and those looking to help problem gamblers for some time.

The UKGC also found that a survey over two months of 4000 people discovered that a ‘significant proportion’ gambled with the objective of winning large sums of money rather than for entertainment. Such findings add to the concern over problem gambling and the regulations currently in place to protect individuals.

The Problem Gambling Severity Index

The Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) can measure if an individual is potentially experiencing problem gambling. The tool includes nine questions scored on a four-point scale which measures gambling behaviour. Respondents will fall into the following categories based on their scores:

 - Non-problem gamblers (PGSI = 0)

 - Low risk (PGSI = 1-2) is those with a low level of gambling concerns and who have experienced very few or no negative consequences.

 - Moderate risk (PGSI = 3-7) is classified as individuals who are experiencing a moderate level of gambling problems that may lead to some possible negative consequences.

 - Problem gamblers (PGSI = 8+) are those was are gambling with “Negative consequences and a possible lack of control.”

The index focuses on several factors, including financial difficulties, selling possessions or borrowing money due to gambling.

Government regulations

The government is reviewing UK gambling regulations to potentially introduce more protection against problem gambling. These may include a mandatory levy on betting firms which would fund treatment for addiction, tighter protection measures and limits for online slots.

The gambling minister, Stuart Andrew, is overseeing this review and commented that the survey showed a higher level of gambling participation than previously.

Gambling Act white paper

The UKGC continues to look to improve gambling and this month launched the second round of the gambling act review consultations. These second consultations will run for 12 weeks until February 2024 and focus on:

 - Regulatory data

 - The transparency of the protection of each customer's funds

 - Socially responsible incentives

 - Customer-led tools

 - Commission requirements in accordance with the statutory levy

UKGC Executive Director for Research and Policy Tim Miller said, “The White Paper set out that a top government priority is ensuring that gambling happens safely. We share this commitment and today’s consultations propose how we can deliver on it.”

Miller added, “We need as many people as possible to have their say on any potential changes to the rules operators must follow. These views will ultimately help shape gambling regulation across the country.”

For further information about the UKGC consultation process and white paper, please visit their website and to learn more about responsible gambling you can read our guides.

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