A new research work in the United Kingdom has warned that the rate of gambling addiction could be much higher in the country than believed previously. The report also claimed that almost half of the people who have developed the addiction are also not getting any help to get out of it.
Problems with gambling habits plague about 2.7 per cent of all the adults in the United Kingdom which equates to about 1.4 million people, found a report by YouGov that was prepared based on a survey commissioned by the GambleAware charity. Experts however said that the actual figure of gambling habits in the country was more likely close to the figures disclosed in the health survey which was at 0.7 per cent of the adult population of the country which was mentioned by the Gambling Commission, the regulator for the industry in the UK.
However the findings of the report said that there were indications that the actual number of problem gamblers – who are gamblers who score more than eight on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) – could be much more than the current estimates prevailing in the country. The survey that formed the basis of the report was based on 16,000 people.
The report also found that the number of people who reported to have been negatively affected by someone else’s gambling problem stood at about 3.6 million adults of the country or about 7 per cent of adults.
On the overall, harm linked to gambling had been experienced by nearly 5 million British people, suggested the report. This also caused an overlap between the problem gamblers and the people affected by them or their gambling habits.
The gambling addiction rate was likely to have been overestimated in the YouGov’s report, said both GambleAware and the Gambling Commission. The bodies pointed out towards a review of the data by survey sampling expert Professor Patrick Sturgis.
There was likelihood of flaws in both the YouGov survey and the health survey figures, said Sturgis, who is also a former trustee of GambleAware. Sturgis said that the actual rate of problem gambling was more likely to be closer to the commonly used 0.7 per cent figure than YouGov’s 2.7 per cent prediction.
He however said that it would not be wise to rule out the higher figure and said that the earlier research had probably “somewhat underestimated” the levels of addition to gambling.
The most recent findings are likely to initiate calls for implementing stronger measures to tackle the problem of gambling addiction even as there are already concerns that the risks are now higher because these problem gamblers are now isolated at home because of the stay at home orders imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The latest report on gambling addiction was “deeply concerning”, said UK’s Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who chairs a cross-party group of MPs examining gambling harm.
“While the rate of 2.7% could well be an overestimate, the health survey data seems to be a significant underestimate. This new data suggests that addiction levels are far higher than has been previously thought,” Harris said.
“Policymakers, the regulator and gambling support services must take note of these important findings and ensure that the correct provision and regulation is in place to support gamblers in the UK,” Harris added.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)