NHS Chief: Gambling figures a ‘stark reminder’ of betting prevalence

New research showing that over half of adults in the UK gamble has been described by the head of the NHS as a “stark reminder” of the prevalence of gambling in society.

The Health Survey for England 2018, published by the NHS, found that 54 per cent of adults had participated in some form of gambling activity in the previous 12 months.

The poll of 10,000 people also highlights the dangers of addictive online gambling and shows that men aged 16-24 were most likely to be classed as ‘problem gamblers’.

Wake-up call

NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens said: “These new statistics 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.”

Matt Zarb-Cousin, from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said the “accessibility of online and mobile gambling” was fuelling addiction.

“The real risk is with the accessibility of online and mobile gambling, which is very addictive and provides unlimited stakes and prizes”, he said.

He added: “These figures should act as a wake-up call to the Government to regulate the stakes and prizes online.”


A recent report by the Gambling Commission revealed that around 55,000 young people are “problem gamblers”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government was committed to “upgrading the 2005 Gambling Act for the digital age”.

Related Resources