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Under 35s among those gambling more
15 Jun 2022
While this year's Health, Wealth & Happiness makes for tough reading all around, one report trend that major UK media has caught onto is the uptick in gambling in several sections of the UK population.
Health, Wealth & Happiness (HWH) data found that close to one in three (32%) Britons now gamble, and nearly one in four (23%) of them spent more on their habit in 2021.
Worryingly, data shows that almost half (46%) of 35s now gamble, and nearly a third of them (30%) increased their gambling spend last year.
Among 18-34-year-olds, the average gambling spend per person per month is £43, but one in 12 (8%) spend upwards of £100 per month.
We know from 2022 Health Wealth & Happiness report data that younger Brits (18-34) have been hit harder than most with the fallout of the pandemic.
Just shy of one in three (32%) under 35s says their job is less secure now than it was before the pandemic, and under 35s are by far and away the age group most likely to report that they've lost ground, or social status, due to Covid and its impact.
Just as vivid, under 35s report 'having too much debt' and a 'lack of savings' among their top financial fears in 2022. As reported in The Times, ONS data shows the median range of savings for a 30-year-old lies between £500 and £5,000 ...
But the picture could be bleaker still. In 2021, The Independent reported that one in seven (13%) Brits have no savings to fall back on at all and more than a quarter (26%) have less than £500 put away.
Swimming upstream, then, it appears that the uptick in gambling among the younger portion of the workforce may be a search for escape, or for a quick financial fix, or both - at a unique time in history.
Big earners big spenders
The gambling stats from Health, Wealth & Happiness also point at the UK's higher earners and how they too are escalating in their gambling habits.
For the UK as a whole, close to one in three Britons say they gamble. For the highest income bracket (earning over £100,000 per year) nearly double consider themselves gamblers.
Some 58% in the top income shelf say they gamble, and nearly half (45%) say they too have increased their gambling spend in recent days.
No magic bullet
Britain's ethnic minority communities, who like under 35s have generally fared worse through the pandemic - as measured across several Health, Wealth & Happiness criteria - have upped their gambling habits too. Nearly one in five (18%) in UK ethnic minority communities say they gambled more in 2021.
With the average British household set to be around £3,000 worse off this year, we're becoming used to media reports of individuals and families having to make major lifestyle and spending changes to make ends meet. In some cases, the situation has prompted serious hardship and extreme solutions.
It's understandable why apparent quick-fixes such as gambling seem like viable or magic-bullet solutions, but escalating gambling habits can fairly quickly make a bad situation worse.
According to Public Health England, data published in 2021 (based on 2018 research) suggests that 0.5% of the adult population have a problem with gambling and 3.8% are gambling at at-risk levels. A further 7% of Brits are affected negatively by other people's gambling.
Again, this is based on 2018 before an era-defining pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis unlike any other in modern history ...
Odds are that the percentage of UK gamblers heading into problem territory is rising fast.
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