British gambling participation falls in 2020

Total gambling participation fell to 42 per cent in 2020.
Total gambling participation fell to 42 per cent in 2020.

Data from the Gambling Commission shows that participation in British gambling fell by five percentage points in 2020.

UK.- The British regulator, the Gambling Commission, has published data that shows that British gambling participation fell significantly in 2020.

Data from the commission’s quarterly telephone surveys shows that despite an increase in online gaming, total gambling participation fell to 42 per cent, down 5 percentage points against 2019.

Each age and gender category saw a decline in participation to some extent.

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A rise of three percentage points in online gaming participation to 24 per cent failed to offset a decline of nine points in retail gaming (26 per cent) caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Excluding lottery products, including the National Lottery, participation fell to 28 per cent in 2020, down from 32 per cent in 2019 

The steepest drops in participation were among men and younger age ranges.

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The Gambling Commission’s latest survey, conducted by Yonder Consulting, interviewed 4,007 over 16s by telephone in March, June, September and December 2020.

A Gambling Commission spokesperson said: “The year to December 2020, which the data is based upon and reflects, has been a unique year; with the arrival of Covid-19.

“The various lockdown rules and restrictions throughout 2020 have brought about significant consumer behavioural change and clearly have also had a major impact on the gambling industry.

“Data shows that for all respondents, online gambling participation rates are increasing. When those who have only played National Lottery draws are removed from the data, respondents’ online participation rate has remained stable between 2019 and 2020.”

Problem gaming remains stable

The survey also found that the problem gambling rate had fallen to 0.3 per cent, down from 0.6 per cent in 2019, although it said the change was not statistically significant.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) welcomed the data but said it would continue to introduce measures.

Wes Himes, the executive director for standards and innovation, said: “One problem gambler is one too many, however, and we are determined to keep up the momentum in the months ahead.

“For example, we’re looking at how we extend filtering for online ads, and are working with online platforms on opt outs for betting advertising.”

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