UKGC: BAME gamblers more at risk of harm but community research remains limited 

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published further insights on the gambling behaviours of BAME – black and minority ethnic communities.

BAME analysis was gathered from a 2020 survey of 4,000 adults (aged +16), that included 473 interviews with BAME respondents.

On gambling participation BAME respondents revealed that they were significantly less likely to gamble – as the survey reported that 3 out of 10 (27%) BAME participants had gambled in the past four weeks, compared to 4 out of 10 (42%) amongst all respondents.

Despite the National Lottery being the most popular activity amongst respondents, the survey cited notable differences in BAME gambling habits.

Research found that ‘private betting’ be it sweepstakes, pools, bets and card games with friends and family were more common amongst BAME communities, registering a 19.2% response compared to 9.3% cited by all respondents.

Of note, feedback revealed that 65% of BAME gamblers (those who had gambled in the past four weeks) had wagered online, compared to 56% of all respondents registered by the survey.  

Gambling harm feedback found that 10.7% of BAME gamblers reported that they had ‘gambled more than they could afford to lose’ – a significant rate above the 3.2% registered by all respondents.  

The survey’s personal responses cited that 10.4% of BAME gamblers felt guilt or angst about their gambling habits, compared to 3.8% of all gamblers asked.

“So, whilst the results show that BAME respondents are less likely to gamble in the first place, those that do gamble may be more at risk of experiencing harm,” the UKGC reflected on gambler responses.

Concluding its update, the UKGC warned observers that ‘gambling isn’t homogeneous and within the BAME population there will be differences in the way that people gamble, cultural and personal, and those who will be more, or less, at risk of experiencing gambling harms”.

The Commission acknowledged that insights gathered from its analysis were limited to the sample size of the survey.

Moving forward the UKGC wants to deliver national stakeholders a more accurate picture available of gambling behaviour, considering differences within the population make-up of Great Britain.

During October, the Commission announced the pilot testing phase of its new research methodologies project, working in partnership with NatCen Social Research and the University of Glasgow. 

If successful, the UKGC’s new research methodologies will be applied to monitoring the “gambling behaviours amongst subgroups of the population, including within the BAME community.”


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