The British public’s attitude towards the betting and gaming industry are beginning to soften, according to data from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
Conducting its quarterly telephone survey, the Commission spoke to a ‘representative sample’ of 4,021 adults aged 16 and over in March, June, September and December 2021, discussing gambling behaviour and perception of the sector.
Overall, the regulator found that 30% of respondents during the period agreed that the betting industry is trustworthy and that gambling is conducted fairly, a figure which has remained ‘statistically stable’ compared to 2020.
However, a difference in attitudes between gamblers and non-gamblers was outlined by the former holding more positive views that the latter – “36% of gamblers agreed with that gambling was fair and trustworthy, an increase on the 32% the previous year”.
Additionally, the percentage of respondents who agree that ‘gambling should be discouraged’ decreased from 63% to 59%. Meanwhile, although 70% believe that gambling is dangerous to family life, this is again a decrease on the previous year’s figure of 75%.
Survey results indicate that UK gambling has registered a slight improvement in public opinion against previous years. As detailed by the UKGC itself: “This is the first year where we have seen a switch towards more positive perceptions of gambling.”
Overall participation in any gambling activity during the full year period to December 2021 was “statistically stable” at 43% compared to the same period in 2020. Furthermore, the figures showed that there has not been a return to pre-COVID participation rates which the report states illustrates the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
Alongside the above, the survey revealed that participation in the National Lottery drawers remained stable but they had witnessed a “significant fall” in branded scratchcards – a continuing trend witnessed pre-pandemic.
Last year also witnessed a ‘slowdown in the frequency of gambling’, as fewer bettors placed wagers once a week and an increased proportion were gambling less than once a month compared to 2020.
Additionally, the rate of problem gambling has also remained consistent at 0.3%, a ‘statistically stable figure’ since 2020, and a continued decrease on the 2019 rate of 0.6%. Meanwhile, the rates of problem gambling among women stayed low and steady at 0.2%.
“This stability in 2021 follows previous significant decreases in the problem gambling and at risk rates as described in the Year to Sept 2021 release,” the Commission explained.
The report is the second to have been released by the UKGC this month, following on from last week’s analysis of gross gambling yield from 2020 to 2021.