England Health Survey Shows More Than 50% of Adults Gambled in 2018

  • 53% of respondents participated in online gambling last year
  • Survey shows men aged 16 to 24 more likely to be problem gamblers
  • Men found to be more at risk of gambling addiction than women
  • NHS ramping up service options to help gambling addiction treatment  
woman filling in survey on laptop
The NHS Health Survey for England indicates that 53% of respondents participated in gambling activities in 2018, with males appearing more at risk of gambling addiction than females. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

NHS findings raise concerns

The Health Survey for England, conducted by the National Health Service (NHS), recently revealed that more than 50% of adults gambled in 2018. The percentage decreased only slightly when removing the National Lottery from the findings.

The results of the survey have caused concern among England’s authorities with regard to a rise in gambling addiction.

The results of the survey

Overall, 53% of the adults participating in the survey said they had taken part in some form of gambling activity in 2018. The number dropped to 39% when removing National Lottery participation.

16-to-24-year-old males are more likely to be problem gamblers

A total of 29% of men aged 25 to 34 participated in online gambling last year. Those aged 65 or older came in at 4%. The survey also shows that 16-to-24-year-old males are more likely to be problem gamblers at a rate of 1.9%, compared with 0.4% for the general population.

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said: “These new statistics are a stark reminder of how common gambling is in our society, and how easy it is to become addicted, particularly with the aggressive push into online gambling.”

Treating gambling addiction

The NHS now has plans to expand its service options in the treatment of gambling addiction. It is asking gambling firms to do more to prevent addiction. Stevens further commented that it is time for such companies to take their responsibilities seriously.

The NHS has estimated that 0.4% of those participating in the survey met problem gambler classification criteria, which data is based on the Problem Gambling Severity Index. The index covers nine areas, which include issues such as feeling guilty about gambling and chasing losses.

Participants score each area of the index using numbers. The scale starts at zero, which represents ‘Never’, going up to eight or higher, indicating ‘a problem with gambling’.

The Health Survey for England deemed 3.2% of participants, who scored from one to seven, to be at-risk gamblers. In total, 3.6% were considered to be at-risk or problem gamblers. Men were found to be more likely to identify as an at-risk or problem gambler than women.