Prevalence of Gambling in England


Gambling involves risking money or something else of value on an event based on chance, such as playing the lottery or scratchcards, betting on horseraces or private bets with friends. The outcome of the gamble depends on the likelihood of a given event occurring, which can be determined by applying mathematical probabilities. Gambling requires three elements: consideration, risk, and a prize.

People who gamble may do so as a way to relieve unpleasant emotions, unwind after a stressful day, or socialize. However, it is important to find healthier and more effective ways of dealing with such feelings. For example, exercising, spending time with friends who do not gamble, and learning relaxation techniques can all be helpful. Also, individuals who are struggling with gambling addiction can seek help from a professional counselor or a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, a 12-step program modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous.

According to the Health Survey for England in 2018 (NHS Digital 2019), the prevalence of gambling varies with age. It peaks at age 22-30 and is more prevalent than drinking.

Individual antecedents of regular gambling were consistent with the literature, and included low IQ, hyperactivity and impulsivity, sensation seeking, and high external locus of control scores. However, data were missing for many variables and multiple imputation methods were used to minimise the impact of these missing values. This meant that the models were not fully adjusted. Therefore, the results presented should be treated with caution.