Amid the cacophony of noise from the-oft frenzied problem gambling clamour, last week there was one tiny little sound wave on a frequency pitched at an uncomfortable level for most authorities and interest groups to lend an ear to.
Listen carefully, tune in and you could hear the sound of problem gambling statistics falling 17 percent in 2018 – dropping in real terms from 0.6 percent of the population to 0.5.
Can a tenth of a percentage point make a difference? When it’s heading in the right direction – and against the flow of a torrent of emotive rhetoric – it can.
Because stowed away in the veritable forest of the 2018 participation data released by the Gambling Commission last week was one tiny but important metric differential: the fact that problem gambling rates were down.
The latest survey, conducted quarterly throughout England, Scotland and Wales and comprising of responses from 4,009 individuals in total, suggested that just 0.5 per cent of the population could be classified as “problem gamblers;” that’s down from 0.6 per cent in 2017, and 0.7 per cent in 2016.
The Commission still found the gender differential of this demo- graphic noticeably skewed towards men: 1 per cent of which were classed as having a gambling problem, that’s against just 0.1 per cent of women.
Meanwhile, those aged between 35 and 44 were seen as being the most likely to have control issues when it came to play: with 1.1 per cent of respondents in this age-group classed as at risk.
Nevertheless, another encouraging take away was that rate of vulnerability amongst the youngest demographic – those aged 16 to 24 – mirrored the wider reduction of occurrence, falling (ever so slightly) from 1 per cent to 0.9 per cent.
But it still counts.