Bishop of St Albans asks Government to respond to latest report on gambling participation, awareness and attitudes

On 12th March 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to three questions he had tabled on the annual report of the Gambling Commission into participation, awareness and attitudes:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:

(1) HL2092 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the annual report by the Gambling Commission Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes, published in February, which shows of the general public (1) 29 per cent agreed it would be better for gambling to be banned, (2) 62 per cent believe gambling should be discouraged, and (3) 82 per cent said there were too many opportunities to gamble.

(2) HL2093. To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the finding in the annual report by the Gambling Commission Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes, published in February, that gambling participation amongst 16 to 24 year olds has increased by four per cent.

(3) HL2094. To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the finding in the annual report by the Gambling Commission Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes, published in February, that overall gambling participation is declining yet rates of problem gambling are unchanged.

Baroness Barran: The Gambling Commission’s Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes report found statistically significant increases from 2018 in the proportion of people saying that gambling should be banned (25% to 29%), that it should be discouraged (58% to 62%) and that there were too many opportunities to gamble (79% to 82%). Respondents most frequently said that news on TV (40%) had informed their opinions, followed by personal experience (31%) and newspapers (26%).

Gambling remains a widely popular activity and the report also found that rates of gambling participation were stable year on year, with 47% of the population having participated in any form of gambling in the last four weeks, or 32% excluding the National Lottery. While participation among 16-24 year olds had increased by 4%, this was not a statistically significant change. The single age group most likely to have gambled was 45-54 year olds, with a 53% participation rate.

Rates of problem gambling have been stable at under 1% of the adult population in Great Britain since 1999. The problem gambling rate as measured in the Health Survey England 2018 was 0.5% of the adult population.

The Government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. As part of this review we will consider relevant research and statistics, such as the Gambling Commission report. We will announce further details in due course.