UKGC Releases Its 2018 Annual Report on Gambling Participation



Staff member
May 3, 2008
The UK Gambling Commission has published its 54-page report on Gambling Participation for the year of 2018. The Gambling Participation in 2018: Behaviour, Awareness and Attitudes annual report shows that players’ participation in gambling in 2018 has remained stable in comparison with 2017.

The Commission used three methods to collect data. For getting answers on Gambling participation and perceptions and attitudes towards gambling, they used a telephone survey. To ask participants about online gambling behaviour and consumer interest and awareness, they did an online survey. As for problem gambling rates and moderate and low-risk gambling, a Combined Health survey was conducted.

The headline findings show that the most popular gambling activity in the UK is still the National Lottery, followed by scratchcards and other types of lotteries. Out of betting activities, horse racing and football are the most popular ones. Over 18% of the gamblers have at least once gambled online, and over half of the population who gambles, gambles at least once a week.

The Breakdown on the Results for Participation

In the UK Gambling Commission’s 54-page report, you can see on the first few pages the summary of the findings, even though you can read the report thoroughly if you want to find out some more details.

In sum, the findings show that gambling participation in 2018 has increased by only 1% in comparison with 2017. 46% of the respondents have participated in gambling compared to last year’s 45%. Excluding those who have participated in National Lottery draws, there are 32% of gamblers who have participated in gambling. This shows a 1% decrease in comparison with 2017.

18% of players had gambled online, which shows the same result as gambling online in 2017. Now, there is a 4% increase when it comes to gambling on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. There were 51% of mobile gamblers in 2017, and now there are 55%.

When it comes to in-play betting, there is a slight decrease of 3% compared to 2017, and the results show 23% of players who have bet in-play. As for land-based gambling on machines in bookmakers, the percentage is almost the same as in 2017, 1.5% in 2018 versus 1.4% in December 2017.

As it turns out, the survey also asked the respondents to express their opinions on whether they think that gambling can be trusted and is fair, and 30% of them said yes. In 2017, 33% answered the same, so we can notice by the 3% decrease that some have started distrusting gambling. However, compared to that 41 % from 2017 who thought that gambling is associated with crime, there is a slight 3% decrease in 2018. Last year, 38% said they believed gambling is related to crime.

71% of the respondents think that gambling of any kind is dangerous for family life, while 79% believe that people have too many opportunities for gambling currently. However, 62% of respondents, which is a lot more than half of them, believe that everyone should have the right to decide whether to gamble and the right to gamble whenever they want, with no limitations.

Results Related to Problem Gamblers

The research showed that 0.7% of gamblers who gamble with a possible loss of control and negative consequences have been classified as problem gamblers. On the other hand, 1.1% of gamblers who faced a moderate level of problems that led to some negative outcomes have been classified, as the report says, as moderate-risk gamblers.

2.4% of the respondents have been classified as being low-risk gamblers. These are the players who face a low level of issues or problems with few or no obvious negative consequences.

The percentage of players who have decided to self-exclude themselves from online casinos, regardless of the level of issues or problems they experienced, is the same in 2017 and 2018, 6%.

In relation to the latest events in the UK gambling market, the UKGC has asked the respondents to share whether they follow operators on social media or watch gambling ads. As it turns out, 26% of 18 through 24-year-old online gamblers do follow an operator on social media, mostly on Facebook, to keep track of the operator’s ads and activities. 49% of online gamblers even said that they saw ads on social media that motivated them to spend money on gambling.

When it comes to gambling ads and their effects on people, 45% of online gamblers said that they were prompted to put their money on a gambling activity by ads that they saw on TV.

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