BGC hails “positive progress” as GB problem gambling rates remain at 0.2%

| By Robert Fletcher
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) said the latest problem gambling figures published by the GB Gambling Commission show “positive progress” on the issue and called for further efforts to reduce gambling harm rates.
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This week, the Commission published the results of a quarterly survey of 4,018 respondents, showing levels of problem gambling in the UK remained relatively stable at 0.2% of the population.

For the population as a whole, the level of problem gambling was 0.2% for the six months ended 30 June. This was stable compared to the level recorded for the year to date in June 2021, which was 0.4%.

The survey also showed that the rate of problem gambling among women was steady at 0.1%.

The BGC said these rates were low by international standards and urged caution against making changes that would inadvertently drive regular punters, who do not suffer from harm, away from gambling.

However, BFC chief executive Michael Dugher called for efforts to continue to reduce the rate, saying “one problem gambler is one too many”.

“These newly released figures are yet again further evidence of the positive progress we have made on problem gambling, which is low by international standards and has fallen in recent times, thanks to the many initiatives we have taken including using advertising to promote safer gambling tools like deposit limits and time-outs, as well as other changes we have made to further raise standards,” Dugher said.

“Around 22.5 million adults in the UK bet each month and it is clear once again that the overwhelming majority do so perfectly safely and responsibly. However, one problem gambler is one too many and there is no room for complacency. That’s why our work continues to raise standards across the regulated industry, in marked contrast to dangers posed by the unsafe, unregulated and growing online black market.

“The latest problem gambling figures will come as a blow to anti-gambling prohibitionists who like to vastly overstate the issues to suit their efforts to treat gambling like tobacco, not like alcohol, but it also provides food for thought for new ministers considering a white paper this autumn. 

“We look forward to the white paper as an opportunity to drive further changes, but the new government should be guided by evidence and seek to carefully target future measures on problem gamblers and those at risk – not intrude on the perfectly safe enjoyment of millions of punters whose choice of leisure does so much to support jobs and the economy, as well as providing a lifeline for sports like racing.”

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