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Oxford Study in 2021 Linked Gaming to 37% Increase in Mortality

AllOxford Study in 2021 Linked Gaming to 37% Increase...

In 2021 Oxford University released a report into the effects of gambling, which for many is just a casual pastime. But it can turn sour for people who slide into difficulties, and a frightening increased risk of mortality for problem gamblers was reported back by the study.

At the time, the research was the largest of its kind ever done, and it included bank data to report back on gambling spending. The report revealed that one in ten punters were using 8% of their income towards gambling, and importantly it didn’t just focus on the most extreme gamblers but took in feedback from casual punters as well.

Sure, negative stats about gambling grabs attention and hits harder. Examples of sensible and balanced gambling, such as those at bookmakers that Legalbet UK users can try, show up less often in the data. But they do exist. Still, it is important to take the bad stats seriously and get a clear picture of problem gambling in 2024.

Higher Presence

One of the main negative consequences the above report revealed is how quickly light gamblers can slide into heavy gamblers.

It stated that around 6.9% of reported heavy gamblers had not been gambling at all three and half years prior. Financial risks, through things like using a bank overdraft or a loan to fund gambling, are common. The Oxford report also noted that a 10% increase in gambling revenue by a person could lead to a 97.5% increased risk of missing a mortgage payment.

Addictive Behaviour

The report cited the volume of gambling advertising that was present during the broadcasting of the 2018 World Cup. Studies revealed that one in six commercials were for gambling, something that spurred a big call for the regulators to reel in the volume of advertising.

There’s now a whistle-to-whistle ban where gambling commercials can’t be shown five minutes before and five minutes after a live sporting broadcast pre-watershed. In 2022 a ban on advertisements featuring high-profile sports personalities and reality TV stars was introduced.

Gambling can be addictive, but the 2021 Oxford report couldn’t clarify if this was because of its appeal to people who more easily succumb to addictions, or whether it directly creates addiction. In 2023, a third of UK gamblers had sought out treatment for mental health issues.

Current Market

The current gambling market in Great Britain is around £15.1 billion according to figures released in November 2023 by the Gambling Commission. That was an increase of around 6% compared to the previous two financial years and of that, around £5.4 billion was from sports betting.

48% of adults in the UK had reported gambling in the previous 4 weeks. The highest demographic for participation was males aged 45 to 54-year-olds across all gambling formats.

Without the National Lottery, the demographic shifts down to 18 to 44-year-olds as having the highest gambling rate. It’s not unreasonable to assume that more mature employed people with better, stable incomes are likely to have more disposable income for gambling.

But still, a report from back in 2021 released the staggering number that 15% of problem gamblers gamble while at work, highlighting the difficulty in getting away from it. In 2023 around 420,000 British gamblers reportedly lost an average of £2,000 per year through online gambling.

Where It Goes

Football betting has generated around an average revenue of £1.3 million per year in the UK since 2008. Interestingly, the most popular form of gambling in the UK remains the lottery and scratchcards. Take those out of the equation and sports betting is the most popular online gambling activity at around 10%.

Online sports betting interest has declined on a mostly year-by-year basis since September 2018. However, in 2023 there was a 9% increase in new account registration at online gambling sites, although there was a drop in the overall revenue.

2023 Changes

Regulatory changes were touted in 2023, which would make alterations to the industry-changing Gambling Act 2005, by dialling in on smartphones and online gambling. In 2023, it was reported that 300,000 Britons fell into the category of being problem gamblers.

Part of the suggested changes include stake limits, and the introduction of a levy on gambling operators to support the treatment of gambling addictions. The new legislation also sets up a gambling ombudsman.

In Conclusion

The UK gambling industry is still thriving. Betting opportunities have become more and more visible, and more easily accessible. Gambling has been proven to affect financial, emotional and even physical well-being. It can also highly affect work productivity, putting employment status at risk. Safe gambling environments can be created, but further work still needs to be done.

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