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More than half of people in England gambled last year

4 December 2019

More than half of people in England gambled at least once during 2018, according to a new survey published today.

The Health Survey for England interviewed 8,178 adults and 2,072 children from households across the country.

It revealed that 53% of people have gambled – this includes buying lottery tickets – during 2018 and this includes 56% of men who said they’d placed a bet, compared with 49% of women.

The Head of the NHS in England, Simon Stevens warned the figures showed problem gambling was not going away: “These new stats are a stark reminder of how common gambling is in our society and how easy it is to become addicted, particularly with the aggressive push into online gambling”.

Problem gambling is an increasingly recognised problem in our society. It is estimated that there are as many as 430,000 adult problem gamblers across the UK, with two million more said to be at risk.

CARE’s response

CARE Communications Manager, James Mildred said: “These new figures are highly disturbing and a sobering reminder how common betting is across England.

“Yes, the overall percentages might have fallen on previous years, which is a good thing, but the figure still remains alarmingly high.

“While for some, betting is just harmless fun, for a significant number it causes long-term devastation.

“It is crucial that people understand the damage problem gambling does for individuals, their families and whole communities.

“Any new government needs to take urgent action to reform our gambling laws and introduce better support for those with a gambling addiction.

“Reducing the high stakes on online games is a start and we also need a mandatory levy on the gambling industry to raise vital funds for research, education and treatment.

“More also needs to be done to address gambling advertising online which, frankly, it out of control.”

Find out more

Read all the latest news on our work to change our current laws to provide better protection for problem gamblers.

Find out more about the challenges of problem gambling.



While for some, gambling is just harmless fun, for a significant minority it causes genuine devastation. Our vision is to see laws passed that will help protect vulnerable problem gamblers.

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