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Internet gambling apparently no problem after all

UK gov survey debunks media hysteria

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The UK National Centre for Social Research today released the long awaited results of the UK Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007 and, contrary to hysterical media speculation, there has been no significant change in UK gambling habits since the last survey in 1999.

Many had speculated that the prevalence of internet gambling since the last survey would lead to changes in problem gambling rates and attitudes toward gambling as a leisure activity.

In fact, the report notes, only six per cent of all Brits gambled online at all last year, and the percentage of the population considered to be "problem gamblers" remains unchanged since 1999 at either 0.5 per cent or 0.6 per cent, depending on the metrics used. This suggests the ease of access to gambling on the internet has had no effect on the gambling habits of UK residents.

In descending order, the most popular forms of gambling in the UK went as follows:

1. The National Lottery Draw (57%)

2. Scratchcards (20%)

3. Betting on horse races (17%), and

4. Playing slot machines (14%)

There was only a slight uptick - from 46 per cent to 48 per cent - in the percentage of the population that gambled at all between 1999 and 2007 (that figure excludes those who played the lottery - the true percentage who gambled is considerably higher). The government, via the lottery, proved once again to be the biggest gambling pusher of all.

Overall, Brits viewed gambling as something of a sin, but still considered it to be an activity that consenting adults should be allowed to enjoy. The complete report can be found here. ®

Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office

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