England Health Survey Shows More Than Half The Population Gamble
The recently published Health Survey for England for 2018 reveals that more than half of all English adults (16 years and above) have reported gambling at least once last year. The survey shows that 56 percent of men and 49 percent of women admitted to gambling in 2018, which includes sports betting, casino games, and playing the lottery. The sample for this year’s survey involved 8,178 adults representing the entirety of England.
Gambling rates in England have fallen in previous years. In 2012, when gambling rates were first introduced into the Health Survey, 65 percent of English adults were found to have gambled in the previous year (68 percent of men and 61 percent of women). In 2015, this rate decreased to 62 percent, and decreased further to 56 percent the following year.
Caution Advised by NHS
Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the National Health Service (NHS) advised caution in assuming that the issues stemming from gambling will fade away soon. He emphasised that the statistics compiled by the survey indicate that gambling remains a common activity in the country, despite its downward trend in recent years.
As more gambling firms open up shop in England and online casinos go live, Stevens warned that aggressive marketing tactics employed by operators could lead to adverse effects to problem gamblers. While the gambling industry continues to grow in the UK, so is the rate of problem gamblers in the country. This is why the NHS has integrated a new service expressly designed to confront mental health problems related to gambling into its long-term plans of operation.
Despite the NHS’ efforts to proactively deal with gambling-related issues, Stevens implied that it was necessary for gambling firms to join the fight for it to be successful. Stevens noted that many gambling firms spend millions of pounds on advertising and marketing their products but a tiny fraction when it came down to responsible gambling measures. He suggested that gambling firms spend a proportional amount ensuring that its products will not lead to individual and social harms.
Online Gambling vs. Land Based Gambling
The online gambling industry in the UK has grown exponentially during the last few years. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) should carry out a survey with problem gamblers to find how many of them gambling online vs. how many of them are gambling at land based casinos.
These numbers should help the UKGC better police the gambling industry and provided targeted help to problem gamblers.