Each year, the UK gambling commission conducts a survey on gambling behaviour and problem gambling in England, Scotland and Wales. In the research study done by NatCent Social Research based on that data and published in 2017, problem gambling is defined as “gambling to a degree that compromises, disrupts or damages family, personal or recreational pursuits.”
If you are thinking “I play lottery every week, am I at risk of developing problem gambling?”, know that although lottery involves risk of developing addiction, it is not as risky as other gambling games, such as slots, poker and sports betting. If you only play National Lottery once or twice a week, you are not considered as being at risk. Did you know that now you can play the lottery on your phone? The iLottery bonus code offers free bonus for new players.
The data show that problem gambling in Wales is less prominent than in Scotland, and almost equally prominent as in England. Wales had 55% of people gambling in 2016 (a 6% decline compared to 2015), 15% of which only played lottery. 3.3% of people were identified as being at risk of developing problem gambling and 0.8% were diagnosed with a gambling problem. Problem gambling in Wales seems to be in decline.
In comparison, 56% of people gambled in England in 2016, 3.6% of people were at risk of developing problem gambling and 0.7% were identified as problem gamblers. Scots exhibit the riskiest gambling behaviour, with 66% of people who gambled in 2016, 1% identified as problem gamblers and 3.6% identified as being at risk.
The NatCent research proposes that gambling should be considered a public health issue, in the age when gambling opportunities are ubiquitous, and people increasingly engage in online gambling via their mobile phones. Another research published by the University of South Wales supports this conclusion, warning that people are exposed to higher risk of developing a gambling problem than ever before, and that in addition to online and phone gambling, the use of Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBTs) further exacerbates the situation. These are very easy to access, and are usually located in the lower income neighbourhoods, targeting people who might see gambling as a way of dealing with their financial issues, a red flag for problem gambling.
How to notice the signs of problem gambling?
- You are spending too much time gambling or thinking about gambling.
- You lost a lot of money gambling.
- You gambled with someone else’s money without their permission.
- You are neglecting other responsibilities, such as work or social calls.
- Your family and friends are warning you about your gambling.
- You tried quitting but you couldn’t go through with it.
If the answer to any of the above questions is YES you are at high risk of developing problem gambling. Don’t worry, you are not alone. There are many support groups offering counselling and therapy programmes to help you triumph over your gambling problem.