UKGC: 2.2 Million Over-55s Gamble Online, Surpassing Millennials

  • Over-55s surpass the number of millennials who gamble online, according to the UK gambling regulator
  • 2.2 million over-55s now gamble online, up one million from 2016
  • Smartphones are helping over-55s to connect with the internet
The UK Gambling Commission's latest research shows that there are 2.2 million over-55s who gamble regularly online.
The UK Gambling Commission’s latest research shows that there are 2.2 million over-55s who gamble regularly online.

Passing Millennials in Online Gambling

The UK’s gambling regulator has highlighted that over-55s are regularly placing bets online, with rising figures twice that of millennials.

Data released yesterday from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) state that a total of 2.2 million over-55s gamble online, a rise of one million since 2016, according to a report in the Daily Mail. Interestingly, out of all the age groups, over-55s represented the largest group of bettors, even surpassing millennial figures.

An increase in the use of smartphones may be contributing to the rise in online gambling. According to the findings, the over-55s are more likely to use a mobile phone to get online rather than the traditional avenue of a desktop computer or laptop.

In March 2016, when the Gambling Commission surveyed 4,000 people to find out their gambling habits, it found that 6.8% of 55- to 64-year-olds had placed bets online. Three years later, the figures for that same age group had jumped to 16.3%, or 740,000 more people gambling online.

Yet, while people – including older individuals – are moving to online services to gamble, caution needs to be taken. Matt Zarb-Cousin, of Fairer Gambling, said: “As more gamblers move online, we’re needing more concessions from online gambling operators that they will reduce harm or the voices in favor of prohibition will only grow louder.”

Boosting Their Income

Whether it’s placing a bet online or going to a dedicated betting venue, gambling has become an established part of many people’s lives.

While gambling is an innocent pastime for many people, for others it can wreak havoc on their relationships, destroying the trust that people have in one another. And with smartphones now an important component in people’s lives, it’s easy to silently fall into the gambling trap without others knowing.

But, it’s not just over-55s who are increasingly gambling online. UK students who want to supplement their loans are also turning to gambling. A report from February noted that 59% of students had gambled in the past year, while 48% did so to boost their income. Furthermore, 8% declared that they had used all or part of their loans to gamble.

Looking at a study of over 1,600 students, around half had debts totaling £1,000 ($1,300) and one in five owed more than £5,000 ($6,530).

There have been calls for tougher measures to crack down on the negative impact that gambling can have on a person’s life. Later this month, new rules from the UKGC are expected to come into force requiring online operators to make gambling safer and fairer for those who take part.

Not as Bad as It Sounds

It’s important to note, though, that while gambling can have a detrimental effect on someone’s life and those around them, this isn’t the case for everyone. In fact, there are plenty of people who gamble sensibly.

A report published in mid February this year highlighted that 90% of American casino players practice responsible gambling and stick to the budgets that they set. Additionally, eight out of 10 casual casino visitors and nine out of 10 avid casino visitors said they were aware of responsible gambling resources.