Gambling Problem Rates Declining in the UK NHS Survey Reveals

A survey has shown that the number of problem gamblers in the UK has fallen. The 2018 NHS Health survey figures reveal that the figure of individuals identified as having issues with betting addiction had fallen by 0.4 percentage points.

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NHS survey reveals fall in problem gambling © Pixabay.

The report shows the number of individuals identified under the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) Index and the PGSI (Problem Gambling Severity Index) had fallen from the 2015 figure of 0.9% to the latest value of 0.5%. The number in 2016 was 0.7% meaning there has been a consistent drop of 0.2% year-on-year.

Strategic consultancy Regulus Partners said the industry should be “very pleased” with the continuing decline in the numbers of problem gambling. Partner Dan Waugh added that while bookmakers should be happy with the improvement; operators shouldn’t expect their reputation to improve as a result of these findings. Waugh suggested that despite evidence showing responsible gaming measures are taking effect, campaigners will find other areas of issue. He said;

This fits with the broader issue that as PG rates have declined, so the public health lobby has sought other ways to amplify concerns. The comments from Simon Stevens in the press are also worrying. Dan Waugh, Regulus Partners.

The mention of NHS CEO Simon Waugh in Waugh’s comments shows a divide in how the NHS survey results have been interrupted. Waugh heralds the figures as a significant drop in PG rates; however Simon Waugh said the figures were a “stark reminder of how common gambling is in our society, and how easy it is to become addicted”.

Waugh also attacked the bookmakers for the amount of money that they spend on advertisements and said they should “step up to the plate” and take their responsibilities seriously. A claim that Dan Waugh called “thoroughly dishonest” and was inconsistent with the statistical data.

Despite the NHS survey showing individual gambling down in the UK from 54% (participating in any sort of gambling during the last 12 months) from 2016’s figure of 62%, there has been increasing concern of the number of children gambling. Of the sample size of this survey of 10,250, 2,072 of these were aged 15 or younger.

A recent Telegraph report states that one in eight teenage boys are regular gamblers. This was 13% of the 3,000 young people who were tracked for the study.

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