The Gambling Commission’s latest quarterly telephone survey has found that problem gambling numbers have halved compared to December 2019. Now that’s something you don’t hear….at all at the moment?
Amid the preoccupation with the government’s roadmap to recovery, there was one piece of industry news that whispered itself out from the regulator on Tuesday: the Gambling Commission’s telephone survey on gambling behaviour for the year to December 2020 reported: “The problem gambling rate in 2020 was 0.3% (down from 0.6% in 2019).”
The decline, muted by a GC caveat annotating ‘albeit not a statistically significant decrease at the 95% level’ of confidence, was still a hefty shift away from the populist narrative.
More notably, the GC comparisons showed the problem gambling level going into 2021 was more than half that recorded in December 2016.
There was equally good news for the low and moderate risk rates in the Commission’s latest survey. The direction of travel is also downward but at a significantly faster pace: the Commission reported “the moderate risk rate is statistically stable (0.9%), whilst the low risk rate has shown a significant decrease from 2.7% to 2.0%.”
The quarterly telephone survey has never been the Commission’s favourite analysis tool, especially in 2017, 2018, 2019 and almost certainly now in 2021 when the official findings have shown a significant decrease.
But the nationally representative sample of 4,007 adults aged 16 and over, all interviewed via telephone in March, June, September and December 2020, will have some sway when it comes to evidence. It is after all, the most significant ongoing measurement of problem gambling in the UK.
What will concern the industry, though, is the perception of gambling and trust: that continues to hovver over the 40 percent mark, not least a result of a highly effective anti-gambling campaign.