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Problem Gambling Rate in the UK is Higher

Last update: May, 2024

Written by: Lisa Cheban Content writer
Problem Gambling Rate in the UK is Higher

According to a new report on the cost of gambling and fiscal benefits, the current problem gambling rate in Great Britain is estimated to be among 0.7% of the population. This is higher than the previous estimate provided by the UK Gambling Commission.

In its most recent gambling participation and prevalence study published in October 2022, the Gambling Commission reported a total problem gambling rate of 0.3%. Interestingly, this is the same number as reported by the Commission in September 2021.

But according to a survey by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, which receives funding from the UKGC, the actual number is 0.7%.

The ‘Fiscal Costs and Benefits of Problem Gambling: Towards Better Estimates’ study examined various crucial aspects, focusing mainly on the financial burden to the exchequer associated with harms resulting from problem gambling.

The study estimates about 380,000 Britons, nearly 0.7% of people aged 16 and older living in private accommodations, have a gambling problem. Accordingly, the analysis estimated that the total yearly financial cost of problem gambling harms stands at £1.40 billion (€1.58 billion/$1.74 billion).

In addition, the latest study calculated that the fiscal cost per individual suffering from problem gambling is roughly £3,700 annually compared to those who engage in “at-risk” gambling. Most of the cost is related to increasing welfare support, healthcare, criminal justice, and homelessness.

In what should be even more concerning, the report claims that the numbers probably underestimated the actual fiscal burden. The research warns that the real numbers might be higher.

“Due to a lack of publicly available data, it has not been possible to include the costs to “affected others”, which arise from the links between gambling, debt and family breakdown, or the costs of suicide linked to problem gambling,” the report read.

The Figures Could Be Higher

The research also proposed potential reforms in response to the findings. First, the research team wants the government to recognize the implications of problem gambling in the proposed regulatory amendments as part of the postponed White Paper, which seeks to review the 2005 Gambling Act

The team also added that it would revise its financial projections once information from the 2022 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) becomes available. Additionally, the group asked for the inclusion of clear screening diagnoses for suffering problem gamblers in the upcoming rounds of the Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS).

Lastly, the researchers said the Gambling Commission’s mandate should include collecting extensive data, particularly regarding the links between problem gambling and suicidal ideas.

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