To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the (a) number of (i) men and (ii) women gambling and (b) rates of problematic gambling during the covid-19 outbreak; and whether he has made an assessment of the effect of covid-19 lockdown on the propensity of people already gambling to try new products.
The Gambling Commission has monitored gambling behaviours during the Covid-19 period by collecting data from operators and through regular surveys. Information from both of these sources has been published on the Commission’s website and is available here: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/news/2020/Data-shows-the-impact-of-Covid-19-on-gambling-behaviour-in-May-2020.aspx
Survey data collected during April, May and June this year shows that 35% of men and 27% of women had gambled in the past four weeks. Amongst those past-four-week gamblers, 31% tried a new product, with the most common being National Lottery draws (18%). Rates of participation for different forms of gambling are also given, showing that, for example, 24% of people played National Lottery draws and 2% played online slots or instant win games during that time.
In addition, respondents were asked whether they had spent more time or money on any gambling activities in the past four weeks than they had previously. 73% of respondents had not spent more time or money, with National Lottery draws the most popular activities amongst those who had increased either time (8%) or money (14%) spent.
The Gambling Commission conducts a quarterly telephone survey of gambling behaviours which collects data about problem gambling prevalence. The most recent wave of that survey was carried out in June 2020, and the next is due to take place in September. As this quarterly data is aggregated to provide annual figures, and problem gambling is measured using questions which ask about past year experiences and behaviours, the survey has not yet provided an indication of the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on problem gambling rates. However, any significant shifts are likely to be reflected in the next set of data which is due to be published in October. Figures for the year to June can be found at https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/Statistics-and-research/Levels-of-participation-and-problem-gambling/Research-library.aspx