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horse and dog races was more likely to be an offline-only activity; only 12 and seven percent of participants, respectively, used online. Twenty percent of bingo players took part online at least some of

the time. In total, 14 percent of British adults had used the Internet to gamble during the year.

Gambling patterns Most gambling in Britain is a casual activity, with the participant

committing large amounts of neither money nor time to it. And for most people – 82 percent – their level of gambling

activity remained much the same between the beginning and end of the year. Only four percent said they were gambling more, while 13 percent said they were gambling less. The principal reasons for change included having more or less money or free time, and access to gambling opportunities. The main motives for gambling were to win large amounts of

money (83 percent of those who took part), fun (78 percent) and excitement (51 percent).

Demographics of gamblers Gambling is most common among the 44-to-64 age group, and

least common among the very oldest and very youngest age groups. Insofar as there is a typical gambler, he or she is married or

divorced, white, not educated beyond GCSE (age 16) level, and employed in a lower supervisory or technical role. Those who only play for high stakes, however, are more likely to be university graduates.

Gender differences Men are only slightly more interested in gambling than women –

75 percent of men, against 71 percent of women, had taken part during the year. But in nearly every category men outnumbered women, most

notably in playing football pools (eight percent of men against just one percent of women), sports betting (16 percent against two percent), and pub/club poker and spread betting, which were entirely male pursuits. Sixteen percent of men played slots, against ten percent of

women, and seven percent of men played FOBTs while they attracted just two percent of women.

The only categories where women were more likely to take part than men were scratch-cards (25 percent against 23 percent) and, true to cliché, bingo (12 percent against six percent). Men also seek more variety in gambling than do women. Among people who gamble at all (rather than the general population), the men typically engage in three different activities each year, whereas women try 2.3. Over the longer term, however, there seems to be more growth in gambling among women than among men. The proportion of women participating in 2010, 71 percent, was up on 1999’s 68 percent. But the proportion of men was actually down slightly, from 76 percent to 75 percent.

Attitudes to gambling “As in 2007,” says the report, “the average view was that gambling was more harmful than beneficial and should not be encouraged.” Nevertheless, the typical respondent did believe that individuals

have a right to gamble, and was opposed to prohibition, and the report says: “Comparisons with 2007 show that overall attitudes to gambling in 2010 have become more positive. Although the overall viewpoint is still somewhat negative, it is less negative than previously, indicating that attitudes are changing.” In particular, over-55s are becoming more tolerant of gambling

as they themselves take part more often. Attitudes were more positive among men, people of white ethnicity, and regular gamblers.

Problem gambling The prevalence of problem gambling in the adult British population was estimated by one measure to have risen to 0.9 percent, having been 0.6 percent in both 1999 and 2007, with the new figure equating to around 450,000 individuals. By another measure, however, it was 0.7 percent, or 360,000

adults. The two measures, the report suggests, “are capturing slightly different people and different types of gambling-related problems”. Problem gamblers were most likely to be male, to be younger, to

smoke cigarettes, and to have parents who gambled regularly and had experienced problems with this. Asian ethnicity, unemployment and poor health were also associated with problem gambling.


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