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UK Problem Gambling Rate Falls

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Problem gambling in the UK is declining, according to a report published on Monday, news that will be welcomed, particularly by the UK Gambling Commission, which is committed to tackling the issue and has been pressuring gambling companies to do more. 

The gambling section of the 2016 Health Survey shows that the headline rate of problem gambling fell from 0.8 percent of the UK adult population to 0.7 percent. The proportion of the adult population considered to be at risk dropped from 3.9 percent to 3.5 percent, while there was also a fall in problem gambling among gamblers: from 1.4 percent in 2015 to 1.2 percent.

The figures in themselves do not represent dramatic falls, and still indicate that there is a significant problem gambling issue in the UK, but for the Gambling Commission, the Government, and the gambling industry, which often use the national problem gambling rate as an indicator of the industry’s health, the figures will be welcomed.

Online sports betting

Although the figures overall have shown a decline, they remain broadly in line with the findings of previous surveys. Online sports betting, which has been in the headlines a great deal in recent months, has a reported problem gambling rate of 2.5 percent – only lottery betting has a lower rate of problem gambling – and the figure is half what it was in 2015.

The online casino sector continues to display a high rate of problem gambling at 9.2 percent, though had fallen from 10.6 percent in 2015. The dramatically high rate of problem gambling of 13.7 percent with Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), up from 11.2 percent in 2015, reinforces the government’s recent decision to reduce the maximum FOBT stake to £2.

While the figures will be welcomed by many associated with the gambling industry, problem gambling remains a high profile issue and the results of future surveys will be keenly studied for signs that recent measures have started to take an effect.

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