The UK Gambling Commission has released survey data on remote gambling for the year to December 2008. The figures show that there has been a steady increase in the number of people participating in one or more forms of remote gambling, i.e. computer, mobile phone or interactive/ digital TV, but that numbers remain relatively low. In 2006 7.2% of those surveyed had participated in remote gambling, in 2007 the figure was 8.8% and last year this rose to 9.7%.
The growth in online gambling was largely due to greater online participation in the National Lottery. If only playing these games is excluded, then numbers of respondents who had participated in other forms of online gambling has risen from 5.1% in 2006 to 5.2% in 2007 and 5.6% in 2008. Computers, laptops and hand-held devices are the most popular means of remote gambling. 2.9% of respondents used mobile phones and 2.1% used interactive/digital TV.
It is interesting to note that gambling patterns have scarcely varied in the three years of the survey. Remote betting on horses, football and greyhounds has remained at 2.4% last year, up from 1.9% in 2006. Wagers at poker rooms/tournaments have declined from 2.2% in 2006 to 1.7% last year. Bingo however rose from 0.7% in 2006 to 1.1% in 2007 and 2008. Casino type games and gaming machines have seen slight falls in popularity. Keno, virtual sports, football pools and other betting activities show little change.
The number of females gambling remotely has risen from 5% in 2006 to 6% in 2007 and 7.8% last year. For males the numbers were 9.6% in 2006 and 11.7% in 2007 and 2008. The largest rise in remote gamblers was in the 25-34 age range (15.7%) with less 18-24 year-olds (13.7%) participating than in 2007. Only 3.4% of those over 65 had participated in online gambling. The Gambling Commission publishes its findings quarterly, based on an updated annual sample of 8,000 interviews. (E-02.02.09)
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