Britons have a serious gambling problem, according to new research released by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The report from the regulatory body that licenses gambling in the UK discovered that over two million Britons either have a gambling problem or are at-risk of one.
More specifically, the report found that of the 63% of British adults who gambled in the UK last year, 400,000 were problem gamblers. Moreover, 1 in 50 British men aged 16 - 34 were identified as having a full-blown gambling addiction. Meanwhile, 3.9% of the nation's total population were deemed at-risk of problem gambling. What's even more disturbing is that 10.1% of problem and at-risk gamblers were unemployed, which is much higher than the 4.6% of problem gamblers who were employed.
Online gambling was one of the highest risk factors for people developing a gambling addiction while scratch cards and lottery were linked to the lowest risk.
UKGC executive director, Tim Miller, said of the research that while overall problem gambling rates in the country have stayed statistically stable, the report suggested that "in excess of two million people are at-risk of or classed as problem gamblers, with very many more impacted by the wider consequences of gambling-related harm."
Miller added that although the UKGC is committed to making gambling safer and fairer, the research shows that this will be a huge challenge that will take the commitment of many parties.
"Success will depend upon us, the industry, government and others, all working together with a shared purpose to protect consumers," Miller stated.
Chris Kelly, the chairman of the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, which serves as the UK Gambling Commission's expert advisor for research, treatment and education, agreed with Miller.
"These new findings show that gambling continues to cause harm to a significant number of people in Great Britain; they underline the importance of the National Responsible Gambling Strategy being pursued with vigour by everyone with a role to play in its delivery," Kelly said.