According to recent research, the gambling addiction rates in the UK may be much higher than the regulators have previously thought. Furthermore, the research has also raised a red flag that almost 50% of the people who suffer from problem gambling are not getting any help to deal with the problem.
In a survey that was initiated by the charity organisation GambleAware, YouGov concluded that up to 2.7% of British adult citizens, which represents almost 1.4 million people, can be categorised as problem gamblers. However, some experts have expressed doubts that the figure is real and insisted that the actual gambling addiction rate is probably closer to the health survey figures which the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has cited.
The research findings indicate that the number of gambling addicts may be considerably larger than the current estimates. A total of 16,000 people have taken part in the YouGov survey, and as many as 7% of the adults, which is about 3.6 million people, say they have been negatively affected by the problem gambling behaviour of another person.
Now, the new survey has suggested that almost 5 million people in the UK have experienced harm associated with gambling. Both the British gambling watchdog and the GambleAware charity confirmed that it is likely that the findings of YouGov overestimated the actual problem gambling rate highlighting a review of the gathered data, which was authored by Professor Patrick Sturgis.
Some Experts Say the New Survey Could Have Overestimated the Problem Gambling Rates
According to Professor Sturgis, it is possible that figures of both the health survey and the YouGov survey were flawed, with the actual problem gambling rate likely to be closer to the previously announced 0.7% figure than to the 2.7% estimate of YouGov.
He, however, was unable to fully rule out a higher figure and explained that a previous survey had probably underestimated the addiction levels in a way. Still, the new findings are likely to unleash further criticism to regulators, as well as calls for stronger measures to address problem gambling, especially amid the recently increased concerns that social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic could make frequent gamblers spend more time and money on online gambling activities.
Anti-gambling advocate Carolyn Harris MP has already shared that she found the latest report “deeply concerning” and explained that the new data provided by the survey suggested that the actual gambling addiction levels are much higher than previously expected. According to Ms Harris, the UK Gambling Commission, other gambling regulators and charity organisations, as well as local lawmakers, need to take into account the new findings in order to make sure they unveil adequate regulation to support gamblers on the territory of the UK.
As mentioned above, the new report also found that almost 50% of all gambling addicts are not getting the necessary help to deal with the problem, with poorer people, people from a BAME background and female gamblers being the worst affected. The survey has suggested that the social stigma that is usually associated with problem gambling behaviour, as well as lack of awareness have been among the main reasons why many people are unable to access the treatment and support they need to deal with the problem.