[PDF] Gambling behaviour in Great Britain in 2015. Evidence from England, Scotland and Wales

National Centre for Social Research
Publication date:
01 August 2017



This report provides information about gambling behaviour in Great Britain  The main aims and objectives of this report were:

  • to describe the prevalence of gambling participation, at-risk gambling and problem gambling and;
  • to explore characteristics associated with gambling participation, at-risk gambling, and problem gambling.

  Findings  Participation in gambling activities 

  • 63% of adults (16 ) in Great Britain had gambled in the past year, with men (66%) being more likely than women (59%) to do so.
  • The most popular gambling activities were the National Lottery draws (46%), scratchcards (23%) and other lotteries (15%).
  • For both men and women, overall participation was highest among the middle age groups and lowest among the youngest and oldest age groups.
  • Past year gambling participation rates varied across regions, from 52% in London to 68% in Scotland.

At-risk gambling 

At-risk gambling was measured using the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). This identifies people who are at risk of problems related to their gambling behaviour but who are not classified as problem gamblers. 

  • Overall, 2.8% of adults were classified as low risk gamblers (a PGSI score of 1 or 2) and a further 1.1% as moderate risk gamblers (a PGSI score of 3 to 7), meaning that, overall, 3.9% of adults, approximately 1,890,000 people, had a PGSI score which categorised them as at-risk gamblers.
  • Rates of low risk and moderate risk gambling were higher among men than women and were higher among younger age groups.

Problem gambling 

Problem gambling is gambling to a degree that compromises, disrupts or damages family, personal or recreational pursuits. Estimates of problem gambling are provided according to two different measurement instruments, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV) and the PGSI.

  • Problem gambling prevalence measured by either the DSM-IV or the PGSI was 0.8%, approximately 430,000 people, with men being more likely than women to be classified as problem gamblers (1.5% and 0.2% respectively).


This report uses data combined from the Health Survey for England 2015, and the Scottish Health Survey 2015 and the Wales Omnibus in 2015.