NHS findings raise concerns
Health bosses have raised concern about the prevalence of gambling after official figures acknowledged more than 50% of people aged 16 or older in England wagered at some point in 2018.
The results are contained in the Health Survey for England 2018, which also showed that millions of people are overweight, drink too much alcohol, eat badly or fail to do enough exercise.
The results of the survey
“16-to-24-year-old males are more likely to be problem gamblers”
The survey revealed that 53% of people had wagered in 2018, which adds buying a lottery ticket, with 56% of men acknowledging that they had gambled against 49% of women. While the figures have dropped in recent years, the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, issued a warning not to infer the problems that gambling present had gone away.
The chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens said on Tuesday
“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,”
“The NHS never stands still as health needs change, which is why we’re rolling out new specialist services to tackle mental ill health linked to gambling addiction, as part of our long-term plan.
“But it is high time that all these firms who spend many millions on marketing and advertising step up to the plate and take their responsibilities seriously.”
There is a downfall in rates in recent years. In 2016, the Gambling Commission reported that 56% of adults aged 16 or older gambled, while 62% had done so the previous year. In 2012, the first year the issue was covered by the Health Survey for England, 68% of men and 61% of women participated in a gambling activity.
For this year’s study, 8,178 adults and 2,072 children (aged up to 15) were interviewed from households across England.
The survey found 10% of all men and 5% of women drink alcohol nearly every day. Older age groups are far more likely to drink regularly, with 16% of men and 11% of women drinking nearly every day in the 65 to 74 age group, compared with 4% of men and 2% of women in the 25-34 bracket.
More than half of adults (56%) were found to be at increased, high or very high risk of chronic disease due to their waist circumference and body mass index (BMI). Some 26% of men and 29% of women were obese. Overall, 2% of men and 4% of women were morbidly obese.
Treating gambling addiction
Now the NHS aims to bolster its service options in the treatment of gambling addiction. It requires gambling agencies to do more to avoid addiction. Stevens further commented that it is time for such companies to take their responsibilities seriously.
The NHS has predicted that 0.4% of those participating in the survey met problem gambler classification criteria, which data is based on the Problem Gambling Severity Index. The index covers nine areas, which include issues such as feeling guilty about gambling and chasing losses.
Participants score each area of the index using numbers. The scale starts at zero, which represents ‘Never’, going up to eight or higher, alarming ‘a problem with gambling’.
The Health Survey for England assumed 3.2% of participants, who scored from one to seven, to be at-risk gamblers. In total, 3.6% were considered to be at-risk or problem gamblers. Men were found to be more likely to identify as an at-risk or problem gambler than women.