In an effort to make distinctions between Web-based personal computer gambling and gambling by mobile phones and interactive television, the Gambling Commission in the U.K. put together a report that was the first in a series. One of the key goals, according to the commission, is to measure participation to get a more accurate view of gambling in Britain.
The commission lists these items among key findings of the January 2009 survey:
o 9.7 percent of 8,000 adults surveyed in the U.K. said they had participated in one of the forms of remote gambling in 2008. This compares to 7.2 percent in 2006 and 8.8 percent in 2007.
o The people most likely to take part in remote gambling: males between 18 and 44 years of age
o Most of the people who participated in remote gambling used a personal computer – nearly 3 times more than mobile phone or interactive TV
It’s interesting to note that the consistent increase in participation in the U.K. is primarily due to remote access for Britain’s National Lottery. When these lottery players are separated from the other survey respondents, the numbers indicate that 5.2 percent of the people surveyed took part in some form of remote gambling. The bottom line is that, in the U.K., more than 90 percent of the people don’t gamble online or by some other remote means.
The report also separates respondents based on the type of gambling. For example, only 2.4 percent said they bet on horse racing of some type. Just 1.1 percent played bingo from a remote location. Roulette and blackjack were played by 1 percent of the people surveyed.
The commission has also released similar gambling statistics through June 2009. This report shows a few slight differences from the January data.
o 10.2 percent of 8,000 adults surveyed said they participated in some form of remote gambling in the previous month
o Remote gambling on a personal computer continued to be the most popular method (8.6 percent)
o Statistics for various types of games didn’t show any significant changes, as 1.1 percent played blackjack or roulette from a remote location.
In contrast to the low number of people who engage in online, mobile or interactive TV gambling, reports on all gambling for 2007 and 2008 show that 68 percent of the population has tried some form of gambling. This translates to more than 30 million residents. It seems that the National Lottery, live casinos, betting parlors and other forms of in-person gambling are very popular with U.K. residents.
When the study took out the people who only purchased National Lottery tickets, results still show that nearly half of adults have tried gambling of some sort (48 percent). Among those millions of people, 17 percent bet on horse racing and 14 percent played the slots.
o £84.2 billion devoted to gambling annually
o Approximately 4,000 licensed operators in the gambling industry
Jim Hale is a veteran writer with more than 30 years experience in the newspaper and ma