Are We Gamblers, Or Not?

Are We Gamblers, Or Not?

Despite statistics showing that one in two people surveyed played lottery, one in three bought scratch cards and almost 20% bet on sports, a recent poll suggests only 10% of people consider themselves to be gamblers.

Survey Suggests Confusion Over the “Gambling” Title

The poll, conducted by YouGov, surveyed 2000+ adults regarding their betting habits over the last twelve months and found that there was common confusion about really constitutes gambling.

For example, 42% do not believe that playing machine games in seaside arcade can be called gambling, while 40% don’t think playing bingo is gambling either. Only 33% believe playing the lottery is gambling, and only 25% believe it’s the case with scratch cards.

At least there is a general consensus when it comes to people understanding they aren’t professionals, with 51% of people saying they gamble simply for fun or as a sociable activity, while 22% said they did it to make money. Just 34% said they were familiar with being able to research odds and probability, 21% setting a time limit and 37% setting a limit on losses.

To coincide with Responsible Gambling Week, ending November 13, this poll was commissioned by the Industry for Responsible Gambling with the objective being to get people discussing the matter, gambling without putting themselves or others at any risk, and to allow year-round advice via Responsible Gambling UK.

Those Surveyed Agree Education is Needed

Despite 77% of those polled believing that already possess enough information to enable them to bet safely, there was strong support for an education campaign. 59% said it was as important or more important than a similar campaign regarding responsible drinking for example.

According to the Gambling Commission’s ‘Gambling participation 2018: behaviour, awareness and attitudes’ study, 46% of people questioned had taken part in some form of gambling activity in the past four weeks, similar to the 45% figure produced the previous year.

YouGov’s poll however has highlighted a clear distinction between what people consider to be soft forms of gambling, which they appear to not consider gambling at all, and hard gambling which they think doesn’t apply to them.

The survey however gives some insight into the potential for safer gambling, whatever form it may take, by highlighting some simple tips including:

  • Setting betting limits (40% said they do this now)
  • Only spending what you can afford (55%)
  • Never chasing losses (39%)
  • Not gambling when angry or upset (30%)

Responsible Gambling Week

With in excess of 120,000 staff across thousands of gambling-related venues around Britain and Ireland along with online business taking part in the latest Responsible Gambling Week, the event has been considered a success. Staff during the week have begun conversations with customers about safer gambling, doing so as part of an ongoing commitment by businesses to train staff to be able to encourage this, or intervene when it is necessary.

While this has been seen as a positive, in fact the YouGov poll showed that customers already expected gambling companies to give them information about safer gambling. 35% said they would find it useful to receive such information as soon as they register or start playing, while 25% wish to have information signposted when playing.

A further 20% would find it useful to be contacted directly by gambling companies, by email or phone, but only 15% would find it useful to receive such advice from family or friends.

In terms of the real stats, they are that YouGov questioned 2,006 adults across Great Britain between August 22 and August 23, 2019. Questions were asked relating specifically to gambling messaging and motivation, to an unweighted base of 1,811 adults who previously stated that they had taken part in one or more of the listed gambling activities.

One interesting point to come from this once again, is that while many people gambling on activities they cannot control such as bingo, scratch cards and lottery and who skew the stats when getting into trouble, don’t even consider themselves to be gamblers and yet those who purposefully check horse racing form or bet scientifically on sports are indeed labelled as such.

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