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CLOSER’s evidence drew on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), which follows the lives of 14,500 people and their children. This research found that the only gambling activity which was “showing a consistent increase is online gambling and betting.”179 Online problem gambling

The NatCen report on gambling behaviour found the prevalence of problem gambling in online gambling or betting is 3.5%180, in comparison to the prevalence of 0.7% of problem gamblers across the population.181 The prevalence rate for online gambling on slots, casino or bingo games is considerably higher at 9.2%.

We must also consider the rate of low and moderate risk gambling occurring in online gambling, as although this does not meet the threshold of problem gambling, gamblers may be experiencing lower levels of gambling-related harm. The rate of low risk gambling across any online gambling or betting is 16.1%, with the rate of moderate risk gambling at 8.4%. As we saw in the rate of problem gambling, the prevalence rates for online gambling on slots, casino or bingo games is markedly higher with 21.9% of low risk gambling and 13.7% of moderate gambling.

The prevalence for low risk, moderate risk and problem gambling increases significantly if more types of gambling are participated in, and gambling is undertaken at a higher frequency.184 The Royal College of Psychiatrists told us that “problem gamblers are impulsive and need instant gratification,”185 and the vast array of products available and their 24 hours a day seven days a week availability online has the capacity to exacerbate this. 161. Dr Sharman and Professor Turner told us, “Our recent data looking at trends in treatment seeking gamblers suggests steep increases in online gambling as a clear preference for problematic behaviour.”186 The Gordon Moody Association have also found that “having engaged in online gambling prior to admission was among one of several factors that predicted an increased risk of service users leaving the treatment programme before completion.”.

The Alberta Gambling Research Institute found that online gambling poses higher risks for harm due to its greater convenience, 24-hour access, ability to play when intoxicated, and solitary nature of play,188 and the concern is that under current regulation “online and mobile operators can develop games without controls that would help to protect the vulnerable and ensure that those games are fair and safe.”189



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