Young British adults aren’t gambling as much as they used to, stoking operators’ fears that their core products no longer hold the same appeal that they once did.
The latest gambling participation survey conducted by researchers Populus on behalf of the UK Gambling Commission shows 16% of respondents participating in some form of online gambling in the first half of 2016. The figure is up one point from 2015, which was unchanged from similar surveys dating back to 2013.
But when broken down by age, only 11% of respondents aged 18-24 years reported gambling online, down from 12% in 2015 and from 17% in 2014, which was up two points from 2013.
All other age demographics reported higher numbers in the current survey. Most of the gains were single digits, while those in the 45-54 bracket rose four points to 22%, 55-64’s rose two points to 16% and senior citizens were also up two points to 9%.
The 18-24 demo looks even worse when you exclude those gamblers whose only online gambling activity is the National Lottery, falling two points to 10%. Again, all other age demos showed gains, with the 45-54 bracket again scoring the largest gain, up six points to 16%.
The 18-24 demo also ranked second-lowest (29%) in terms of any non-lottery gambling activity, online or land-based, behind only senior citizens (27%). But the senior number gained one point while the 18-24 demo fell a whopping 10 points.
Young adults’ apparent lack of enthusiasm for gambling will likely spark lots of discussion about those damn ‘millennials’ rejecting traditional betting activities for more interactive skill-based online games (insert obligatory Pokemon Go reference here). A 2015 survey of Australian gamblers found similarly waning interest in traditional gambling activities.
However, the numbers may also reflect the dire economic fortunes of young UK adults, whose disposable income has been growing at one-third the pace of UK seniors, according to Luxembourg Income Study data.
On the plus side, in terms of frequency of gambling, the number of respondents who copped to gambling (in any form) two-plus days per week rose four points to 22%. In terms of betting (sports, horse, dog, etc), those who gambled twice or more per week jumped 11 points to 24%.