UK land and remote gambling regulator the Gambling Commission has released details of its activities over the past year, reporting that 3 428 operators had been licensed by the Commission by 31 March 2008, and 4 199 operating licences had been issued to those operators, with some holding both remote and non-remote licences.
The Commission published its detailed licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) in June 2007, following this
with an industry statistics document and in September 2007 a prevalence survey on the incidence of gambling and problem gambling.
During the second half of the financial year the focus moved from re-licensing the industry towards working with it to ensure that licensed operators fully understand and comply with the new requirements placed on them by the Act and LCCP.
The 2007 survey built on the first gambling prevalence study carried out in 1999, which was commissioned by GamCare.
The July 2008 executive summary adds to the original NatCen summary of the 2007 prevalence survey. It provides commentary on key findings as well as highlighting the Commission's position, and outlines the factors associated with ‘at risk' and problem gambling behaviour, explaining how the dataset is being used for further research.
The September 2007 survey was carried out by the National Centre for Social Research, in collaboration with Professor Jim Orford at the University of Birmingham and Professor Mark Griffiths at Nottingham Trent University.
Key findings were:
68 percent of the population, that is about 32 million adults, had participated in some form of gambling activity within the past year. This compares to 72 percent (about 33 million adults) in 1999.
For around 10 million people, their only gambling activity in the past year had been participating in a National Lottery draw. In 1999 this figure was 11 million.
Excluding people who had only gambled on the National Lottery Draw in the last year, 48 percent of the population, or about 23 million, had participated in another form of gambling in the past year. This compares to 46 percent (about 22 million adults) in 1999.
The most popular gambling activities in Great Britain in 2007 were:
The National Lottery Draw (57 percent) Scratchcards (20 percent) Betting on horse races (17 percent) and Playing slot machines (14 percent)
Only a small proportion of people engaged in the new forms of gambling available in Great Britain. Only 6 percent of people used the Internet to gamble (3 percent did online gaming like playing poker or casino games and 4 percent placed bets with a bookmaker 3 percent used fixed odds betting terminals.
The prevalence of problem gambling was an important element in the survey, which measured the levels of problem gambling using two internationally recognised scales, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM IV) and the Canadian Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI).
The DSM IV screen found that the rates of problem gambling in the adult population remained unchanged since 1999 at 0.6 percent of the adult population. The PGSI screen identified 0.5 percent of the adult population with a gambling problem.
According to the DSM IV screen, the highest prevalence of problem gambling was found among those who participated in spread betting (14.7 percent), fixed odds betting terminals (11.2 percent) and betting exchanges (9.8 percent).
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