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Mixed Signals in Gambling Attitudes Survey
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Mixed Signals in Gambling Attitudes Survey

The UK Gambling Commission’s annual Gambling Behaviour Survey has thrown up some seemingly contradictory results when tracking the changing attitudes to gambling over the years in this country.

The 2020 Report, which was released at the end of last month, shows a modest decline in positive reactions to gambling year on year, part of a broad five year trend.

However in one particular metric, the positive responses have gone up by around 3 percentage points.

Survey Responses in Numbers

In the survey, respondents were asked to agree or disagree with eight statements. In response to seven of those statements, participants indicated increasingly conservative or sceptical opinions of the gambling industry. Most notably, these results included:

  • There are too many opportunities for gambling nowadays – In 2020, 83% agreed with this, up from 82% last year, and 78% in 2016.
  • Gambling should be discouraged – In 2020, 63% agreed, up 1.5% from last year and up 8% since 2016.
  • It would be better if gambling was banned altogether – 30.5% agreed this time around, up from 22.5% in 2016.
  • People should have the right to gamble whenever they want – Though at 60% agreement and a substantial majority of respondents, this is down 7% over the past 5 years.

However, the response to this statement, On balance, gambling is good for society, was up to 15.6% agreement from 12.5% the year before, an uptick of 3 percentage points. This noticeably bucks the five year trend and shows an even greater level of agreement than in 2016.

What could this tell us?

  1. It’s clear that the UK public as a whole has an increasingly cautious and sceptical impression of gambling. There is a majority opinion that gambling does more harm than good and this is getting slowly and steadily more prevalent.
  2. Despite the first point, there is still a 60-40 majority of those who believe that gambling should be available to those who choose to do it. This is down only negligibly in the past year.
  3. In spite of this overall trend, there is an increasing number of people (albeit a minority) that view the positives of the gambling industry in British life and the economy.

Thanks to the Gambling Commission who put together this report every year. Last year, 4,000 respondents took part in this telephone survey, so we thank them for their contribution also!


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