The UK saw a “significant” decline in moderate to low risk gambling in the year to March 2021, according to the latest figures from the UKGC.
Speaking at the Summit on Shared Financial Vulnerability, UKGC Acting CEO Sarah Gardner presented the first complete dataset on participation and prevalence of problem gambling between March 2020 and March 2021, which includes the first complete annual dataset since the start of the pandemic.
Gambling participation by players at moderate risk of gambling-related harm fell annually from 1.5% to 0.6%, down 0.9% from last year.
Low risk gambling rates in the UK also declined over this period from 2.7% to 1.9%.
The share of problem gambling in the UK fell from 0.6% pre-pandemic to 0.4% in March 2021, although the regulator suggests that this decline is not significant at the required level of 95%.
“While the reduction in problem gambling is not significant at our target level of 95%, the reduction in moderate and low risk gambling is significant,” Gardner explained.
“Furthermore, if we look at the long-term trend over the last five years, the data shows a clear decline in the number of at-risk players and suggests that we may be starting to see a decrease in the overall number of problems. gamble.
“This does not mean that we will abandon the accelerator when it comes to consumer protection. Instead, this should be seen as an opportunity to continue ramping up our efforts to improve gambling safety,” she added.
The decline in problem, moderate and low levels of gambling by March 2021 contrasts with claims by several campaigning groups who have suggested lockdowns across the UK will lead to an increase in harmful gambling behavior.
However, UK data is yet to be collected and published on the latest part of the pandemic and its impact on gambling behaviour.