Academics from Birmingham University working with The National Centre For Social Research carried out the research among problem gamblers with its findings due to be released later this month. However, several mainstream British newspapers have carried stories on the study and revealed some of its findings.
The Gambling Prevalence research study is a follow-up to a similar project carried out eight years ago. At that time, problem gamblers were found to make up between 0.6 and 0.8 percent of the adult population. But, according to The Times newspaper, the new study is expected to show a sharp increase in the number of problem gamblers in Britain from the current level of about 300,000.
“Bookmakers and casino operators fear that, despite the Government's protestations to the contrary, it will seize on any increase in problem gambling to clamp down on the industry or hit it with punitive tax rises,” reports The Times.
The Times said that the study was timed to coincide with the advent of the new gambling dispensation, which took effect on September 1, with the official results due for publication later in the month.
The Observer newspaper reported that the study indicated an upswing in online gambling with nearly a million regular online gamblers in Britain accounting for almost a third of the European total. On average, these individuals spend, it said, about $2,000 a year, which equals more than us$ 4 billion in total.