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The most recent large-scale report into gambling behaviour was published by the Gambling Commission in 2018, using data from the Health Surveys for England and Scotland 2016 and Problem Gambling Survey Wales 2016. This estimated the number of adult problem gamblers in Great Britain as approximately 340,000, 0.7% of the population. The surveys also identified people who are at risk of problems related to their gambling behaviour but who are not classified as problem gamblers. Both headline rates of problem gambling and at-risk rates have been relatively stable for many years.
The government published the Review of Gambling Machines and Social Responsibility Measures in May 2018. This set out action to protect those vulnerable to harm, including cutting the maximum stake on B2 machine from £100 to £2, along with measures to strengthen protections around online gambling and gambling advertising. The Gambling Commission has tightened identity and age verification controls online and introduced tougher sanctions for breaches of advertising codes. A multi-million pound safer gambling advertising campaign, Bet Regret, was launched in February this year, aimed at reducing risky and impulsive gambling.
The Review also set out action on treatment and support for those who experience harm, including initiatives to improve the evidence on treatment needs and effectiveness, expand access to existing services and strengthen the voluntary system for funding support. Following positive engagement with Government, five major operators recently committed to a tenfold increase in their contributions to support, including spending £100m on treatment over the next four years.