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Emily D. Swoboda

National Lottery Spurs Uptick in U.K. Remote Gambling Participation

3 February 2009

The number of adults participating in remote gambling in the United Kingdom rose in 2008 over the previous year, according to data from the country's Gambling Commission.

The commission in January released the results of its annual survey on remote gambling participation. The result is an average of four quarterly surveys conducted throughout the year by ICM Research, a research consultancy in London.

Each survey asks 2,000 respondents to answer questions on whether they participated in remote gambling -- including the National Lottery -- in the previous month, how much and by which method.

In total, adult participation in remote gambling in the United Kingdom has increased 0.9 percent to 9.7 percent from 8.8 percent in 2007. The numbers reflect a 2.7 percent increase over 2006.

According to the survey results, of the respondents who participated in at least one form of remote gambling during the year, 42.6 percent gambled only on the National Lottery. Excluding those who played the National Lottery, exclusively, the results drop to 5.6 percent.

As in years past, computers remain the most popular method for accessing remote gambling services, followed by handheld devices, mobile phones and interactive television. The most popular forms of remote gambling were National Lottery tickets (7.1 percent), betting (2.4 percent), National Lottery scratchcards (2.4 percent) and poker rooms/tournaments (1.7 percent).

The relationship between male and female gambling participation remained unchanged against previous surveys: Males (11.7 percent) are more likely to gamble online than females (7.8 percent) in the same age range.

One could reason that the results show the remote gambling industry is weathering the rough economic climate of late, but it bears noticing that these numbers summarize a full year's activity which began at the start of 2008.

That said, Simon Holliday, the director of H2 Gambling Capital, told IGamingNews via e-mail Tuesday that the results are very much in line with what would be expected given his company's industry forecasts.

"What is striking is the gap appears to be gradually closing with the prevalence of land-based gambling," Mr. Holliday said. "As the interactive channels accounted for approximately 15 percent of U.K. gambling spend in 2008, this suggests frequency and average spend is still far higher for land-based activity. Therefore we would expect what appears to be more casual online gambling to hold out better during the recession."

The commission's survey on remote gambling participation is separate from its study on gambling prevalence, which is due for review in 2009.

The British Gambling Prevalence Survey is a large-scale study of participation in both the remote and land-based gambling sectors in the United Kingdom. The last figures were released in July 2007, and the commission has announced that it will begin its update of the survey this year, aiming for completion by December 2010.

National Lottery Spurs Uptick in U.K. Remote Gambling Participation is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda