UK Problem Gambling Falls but Black Market Play Increases

The UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has analyzed new figures from the Gambling Commission (UKGC) that show that the rate of problem gambling has fallen by 0.2% in the year ending March 2022.

The statistics reveal that the rate of problem gambling over the year was just 0.2%, down from 0.4% the previous year and down from 0.3% in the last published annualized figures from February 2022.

Problem gambling amongst women has “stayed steady and low” at just 0.1%. When looking at the number of people this represents, the BGC calculated that it represents a drop from 225,000 problem gamblers to 113,000.

Michael Dugher - BGC Chief Executive

These newly released figures are further evidence of positive progress and underline our calls for ministers to take a genuinely evidence-based approach to the upcoming White Paper and not pander to the anti-gambling lobby. Our initiatives have included using advertising to promote safer gambling tools like deposit limits and time-outs, investing more in research and treatment, changes to advertising, stronger protections for younger people, and introducing tough new rules on VIP schemes.

Michael DugherBGC Chief Executive

However, the BGC did caution that while it is an encouraging trend, at the same time, there is an increase in the number of players turning to black market sites in the UK. The number of people playing at unlicensed online casinos has doubled in only two years, and they are betting billions of pounds.

Dugher explained that the regulated industry is fully committed to safer gambling, in stark contrast to the black market, where no safeguards or player protection tools are in place.

He once again warned the UK government against introducing highly restrictive legislation, such as intrusive personal checks for non-problem gamblers or the removal of bonus offers, as it will likely result in even more players turning to the unregulated industry.