Industry tackling problem gambling - Hills

Industry tackling problem gambling - Hills

Friday, May 8, 2015 Totally Gaming
William Hill says figures suggest problem gambling is under control

Figures released by the UK Gambling Commission show that the industry is tackling problem gambling according to a William Hill spokesman.

Despite huge profits for companies such as market leader William Hill in 2014, the ‘Survey Data on Gambling Participation’ for the year to March 2015 shows that overall participation in gambling was at 51 per cent in 2015, compared to 56 per cent last year and 58 per cent in 2013.

Overall participation was at 31 per cent in figures not including the National Lottery, compared with 33 per cent last year and 32 per cent in 2013.

The study found that of those that did gamble, just 17 per cent did it more than twice a week, with 39 per cent gambling once a week and 18 per cent less than once a month.

William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe told TotallyGaming.com that such data shows that the number of casual gamers highlights that problem gaming is less of an issue than some might suggest.

“The survey indicates that not only is overall gambling prevalence falling, but that problem gambling is stable and on the evidence of the recent Scottish Health survey, falling," Sharpe said.

“Compared to other societal issues - smoking, obesity, harmful drinking - where prevalence rates are in the late teens to mid 20s, Problem Gambling rates have never risen above 1 per cent and are now at around a half a per cent.

“Nevertheless, the industry is addressing the issue for the small cohort of at-risk and addictive gamblers through its responsible gambling agenda.

“Our industry takes problem gambling seriously, but it is not the major societal problem projected by certain politicians and elements of the media.”

While William Hill points out that there is a decrease in the number of gamblers and the frequency of their activity, the company’s own 2014 annual report described a six per cent annual increase in the overall amount wagered in the UK between April 2013 and March 2014 to £6.8bn.

From a problem gambling point of view, this perhaps suggests that fewer people are actually spending more money, with William Hill noting a 13 per cent rise in revenue per unique customer to £213.7.

While the Gambling Commission would not comment on the findings of its survey, a spokesperson reiterated the organisation’s statutory role in collecting data to help form Government policy in the sector.

The spokesperson said: “The Gambling Commission collaborates with local and international researchers and organisations to deliver its responsibility under the Gambling Act 2005 to provide advice to the government on important information about gambling behaviour in Great Britain.

“We collect and analyse data and information needed to keep the Commission up-to-date on all areas of the prevalence of and participation in gambling and to monitor changes that may have an impact on the regulatory framework.”

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