This week saw a gambling prevalence survey published for the first time in four years identify some interesting trends for UK gamblers. All the national tabloid newspapers have since picked up the report with one story even giving us the priceless headline “3 out of 4 are gambling addicts.”
The problem with that headline is that if 3 out of 4 were gambling addicts, how would the country still be standing. The World Bank estimated in 2009 that the population of the UK was just less than 62 million meaning a staggering 42 million people would have a problem were that the case.
We’re not advocating problem gamblers existing but there’s hardly any need for the kind of headlines where the population are led to believe that all we are is a nation of gamblers. For many years, the bookmakers in many towns have created their own sense of community and are even the centre point in many places that they exist, and are not simply a place for problem gamblers to congregate until they become bankrupt
Many of those people reporting the stories on the gambling prevalence survey are unlikely to have read the entire report and we’re not blaming them for this – although without the research you don’t get the whole facts.
The executive summary states, “Some caution should be taken interpreting this result as there may be some other underlying factor affecting estimates between survey years,” which has been conveniently glossed over
Don’t get me wrong; a rise in problem gambling to almost 1% is something that needs to be seriously looked at and resolved before it becomes an even bigger problem. It’s just that he reporting of the stories could, and should, have been better on certain sites.