The latest survey data from Britain’s Gambling Commission shows that overall gambling participation rates remain below pre-pandemic levels, despite increased participation in National Lottery games and betting and gaming in retail.

The proportion of respondents participating in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks to September 2022 climbed to 44.1 per cent from 42 per cent a year ago but remains below the pre-pandemic level of 46.7 per cent in September 2019.

The year-on-year increase applied to both male and female players and was reflected in every age group except 45-54 year olds.

National Lottery draw games, scratchcards, online instant wins and other lotteries continued to account for the bulk of gambling activity during the period, with National Lottery draws attracting the highest level of participation at 28.7 per cent, up from 26.5 per cent a year ago.

Participation in other lotteries climbed to 13.2 per cent from 12.8 per cent in September 2021, followed by scratchcards at 7.7 per cent versus 7.2 per cent a year ago.

Gambling on land-based fruit and slot machines almost doubled to 3.0 per cent of respondents from 1.6 per cent a year ago, with participation in online and offline bingo climbing to 2.3 per cent from 1.6 per cent in September 2021.

Sports betting across all channels fell to 4.5 per cent participation from 5.6 per cent last year, while all-channel betting on other events climbed to 0.4 per cent from 0.1 per cent, driven by an increase in political betting.

Online slot machine style games and lottery instant win participation rose to 4.6 per cent from 3.4 per cent in September 2021, while online and land-based casino games participation remained stable at 1.0 per cent and below the pre-pandemic level of 1.6 per cent.

Online participation during the period among all respondents was driven by the National Lottery (16.1 per cent), followed by other lotteries (8.4 per cent), sports betting (3.9 per cent) and horse race betting (2.6 per cent).

Online bingo and football pools participation stood at 0.9 per cent of respondents, with online casino participation at 0.7 per cent, betting on other events at 0.6 per cent, and virtual dog or horse races and spread betting each at 0.4 per cent.

Overall online participation in at least one form of gambling stood at 27 per cent, up from 25 per cent in September 2021 and 20.6 per cent in pre-pandemic September 2019. This falls to 18.4 per cent when excluding National Lottery participation, compared to 17.7 per cent in 2021 and 16.2 per cent in 2019, with 25-34 year-olds the most active age group in the survey period.

The majority of past four-week gamblers participated once a month or less than once a week at 33.5 per cent, with 30 per cent gambling once a week and 21 per cent more than twice per week. A further 15.5 per cent gambled less frequently than once a month.

When it comes to betting, 29.6 per cent bet more than 2 days per week, followed by 24.9 per cent at once a month or less than once a week, 23.1 per cent at once a week, and 22.3 per cent at less than once a month.

The data also shows that overall problem gambling rates have remained stable at 0.3 per cent and below the pre-pandemic level of 0.5 per cent.

Moderate risk gambling rates according to the short-form PGSI climbed from 0.7 per cent in September 2021 to 1.1 per cent in the current period, with low risk gambers falling to 1.8 per cent from 1.9 per cent a year ago.

The biggest rise in the moderate risk gambling rate was among the 16–24-year-old age group, which returned to the pre-pandemic level of 2.9 per cent from 1.0 per cent in September 2021.

The survey is based on telephone interviews with 4,018 respondents, more than 40 per cent of which are over the age of 65.

Gaming Intelligence

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