Twenty five per cent of adults aged over 16 are gambling online and there is a warning of "a crisis like no other around the corner."
The warning came from gambling treatment provider UKAT, using Gambling Commmission statistics from the year to September 2021 that showed one in four people had gambled online in the previous four weeks, rising from 22.6 per cent in 2020 and up from only 18.1 per cent in 2017.
The statistics had been compiled from a sample of just over 4,000 people. They also showed that there had been significant increases in gambling among women and those aged over 55.
The percentage of women who had participated in online gambling in the last four weeks when surveyed this year was at 22.1 per cent, up three per cent on last year. This was the highest rate of female online gambling participation ever recorded.
For the 55-64 age-group the figures had risen from 18.4 per cent in 2017 to 23.6 per cent in 2020 and 28 per cent this year.
Nuno Albuquerque (pictured), head of treatment for UKAT, said: “Today’s report by the Gambling Commission is just the tip of the iceberg; we know that thousands more will be gambling online and will continue to do so. Online gambling can be very addictive as it’s so readily available, easily concealed and extremely enticing. It’s advertised as a form of escapism, and is evidently attracting more women and those aged 55 and over than ever before.
“We’re also concerned about the rise in the 25-34 year olds; mostly because we know that online gambling is being encouraged by some celebrity influencers, which is incredibly dangerous and quite frankly disgraceful. They could be instigating a crisis like no other.”