A couple of months ago, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) released its annual Gambling Participation Report for 2018, revealing some interesting insights regarding the gambling trends and gambling participation rates in the UK.
According to the report published by the major British gambling regulatory body in February 2019, mobile gambling is still on the rise in the country. The rapid technology development over the last few years has seen tablets, mobile phones and other mobile devices become increasingly popular among local citizens who gamble online.
The data included in the report states that 55% of British online gamblers have gambled through a tablet or a mobile phone over the 12 months through December 31st, 2018. The figure represents an increase in comparison to the figure from December 2017 which showed that 51% of online gamblers had used a mobile device to gamble during the period.
Interestingly, online gambling participation rose in the 12-month period, but the overall participation in gambling of British residents was reduced in proportion. The UKGC revealed that 46% of the people had taken part in some form of gambling in the previous 4 weeks. This represents a 1% decline in comparison to the 45% registered in 2017. In addition, the data provided by the British gambling regulator showed that men were more likely to participate in gambling activities than women.
Mobile Phones Remain Second in Popularity among British Gamblers in 2018
As mentioned above, the last few years have seen massive progress in the development of online gambling options. On the other hand, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices are getting more preferred for accessing gambling options on the Internet, especially in comparison to desktop devices and land-based casinos. The easy accessibility regardless of the player’s location has probably become the main reason why mobile gambling is rising in popularity lately.
According to the German online portal for statistics Statista, 62.9% of the world population had a mobile phone at the time of the survey, with the projected estimate for 2019 being 67%.
While a few years ago browsing on the Internet via a mobile phone was pretty expensive, data are currently not only easily accessible but also much more affordable.
Despite the fact that laptops remained the most popular devices for online gambling in 2018 (45%), the data provided by the UKGC’s annual Gambling Participation Report showed a 5% decline from the 50% figure registered in 2017.
Currently, mobile phone devices remain second in popularity among British online gamblers – 44% in 2018, compared to laptops – 45%. During the previous year, growth has been marked in the proportion of people who gamble online by using mobile phones, with a 5% increase registered from 2017 to 44% in 2018. In addition, mobile phone participation among men rose by 17% from 2017 to 57% in 2018. A 5% increase to 43% in 2018 was also marked in mobile phone participation amongst women.
The major gambling watchdog further revealed that people aged between 18 and 44 are more likely to gamble with multiple devices, with mobile phones being especially preferred by players in the 18-44 age range. On the other hand, tablets seem to be used by users of different ages, including the ones who are older than 65.
The Gambling Commission also provided data about the growth marked in mobile gambling by age group. Increases in mobile device use were registered across all age groups except for the people aged 18-24, but the biggest percentage increases were registered within the 25-34 age group – an 8% increase from 2017 to 70% in 2018, and the 35-44 age group – a 7% rise from 2017 to 58% in 2018.
UK Government and Regulators Share Concern with Rising Problem Gambling Rates
At the same time, the country’s Government has been aimed at imposing stricter regulation and control on all types of gambling, including the ones offered on the Internet.
The UK has been the first country to legalise online gambling. As of today, a large number of local residents not only gamble online but also use primarily mobile devices in order to place bets. Unfortunately, the last few years have seen not only an increase in online and mobile gambling participation but also rising gambling addiction rates.
Problem gambling has turned into one of the major concerns associated with the British gambling sector, despite the fact that the industry’s contribution to the country’s economy cannot be underestimated. Gambling currently provides both direct and indirect contributions to the British economy, but many gambling operators, both off- and online, have been blamed for being irresponsible to their customers’ well-being, as they are trying to lure as many people as possible to their services.
According to anti-gambling campaigners, the easy accessibility of mobile gambling options and even easier access to gambling advertising on the Internet have led to the normalisation of this entertainment and leisure activity to what they call an unprecedented degree, especially to young people.
The British Government is now aimed at tackling the excessive gambling advertising by implementing stricter rules to both retail and online/mobile gambling operators. The UKGC has also reminded companies to be more responsible to their customers and make sure they keep their customers safe to reduce possible gambling-related harm.