May 29, 2023

Observing the Online Gambling Habits and Health Concerns in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and the US

Gambling player Survey Respondent Demographics
Gambling Traits Across the Different regions Data Visualisation

Executive Summary

Objective

The study’s main objective was to investigate online gambling habits and health concerns within the UK, US, CA, and New Zealand.

Methodology

The quantitative research methodology was employed in the survey; data was collected using a survey platform in which participants aged 18 and above from the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States who had reported having participated in an online gambling activity for more than once were recruited. A total of 404 participants were recruited and split among the four countries. The data collected was coded in Excel Spreadsheet and imported to SPSS for analysis. Descriptive data were analysed and presented using tables and figures.

Key Results

Overall, the majority of online gamblers in the four countries (UK, CA, NZ, and US) were women; however, the prevalence of men was slightly higher in the US and CA than it was in the UK and New Zealand. As per the results, most participants were aged between 18 and 29 years and commonly used mobile devices to carry out their online gaming activities. The results also revealed that the use of online gaming was highly associated with health concerns, such as headaches, anxiety and depression and others.

Conclusions and Recommendations

In conclusion, the study revealed that expected trends regarding age, device type, and health concerns emerged from the analysis; however, the proportion of women was slightly higher than that of men. In addition, the survey also established that there was a higher likelihood of using mobile phones than laptops/PC. Online gambling was found to have greater impacts on the participant’s health. The findings recommended that a more appropriate method of collecting data should be used to promote and enhance sample representativeness.

Background and Objectives

Technological innovation and advancement have been essential in the growth and development of the online gambling industry (Liu et al., 2021). By the end of 2020, the online gambling industry had grown by 13.7%, expected to increase with a compounded annual growth rate of 10.7% by 2025. The historic and rapid growth and development in the industry have resulted from technological innovations and the increased use of smartphones, new markets, and digital payments. The United Kingdom has emerged as one of the largest online gambling industries, with gross revenue of 6.44 billion GBP (Statista, 2023).

Online gambling platforms include lottery, betting, casinos, bingo, and others regulated by the country’s gambling commission. In the US, the market size in 2021 was 9.5 billion, a significant increase from 8.7 billion USD in 2020. Like the UK and the US, the online gambling industry is growing fast in Canada and New Zealand. Past studies have revealed that online gambling is significantly associated with poor physical, mental, and emotional health problems (Gainsbury, 2015).

Research Rationale

Throughout the survey, it will be crucial to understand the demographics of the population involved in gambling activities. As indicated, the target audience for the survey is comprised of online gamblers from the UK, Canada, the US, and New Zealand. A survey questionnaire method was used to collect data from the respondents; a quantitative research methodology was also used in the study.

Research Questions

  • Below are the key research questions that the survey seeks to address.
  • What are the typical demographics of online gamblers in the UK, Canada, the US, and New Zealand?
  • What are the common health issues that are associated with online gaming?
  • What are the typical demographic differences between the UK, Canada, the US, and New Zealand?
  • What are the differences in age or gender in the gambler’s experiences?

Expected Outcomes

Previous research has revealed that online gaming is positively associated with health problems for gamblers (Wong et al., 2020). In addition, it has also been revealed that men are more likely to be involved in gambling activities than women. Conversely, studies have established that gamblers under 30 are more likely to use digital devices to carry out gambling activities (Catania & Griffiths, 2021).

Methodology

Introduction

The survey questionnaire technique was appropriate for the study; the technique helped access information from a large audience for a short period. In addition, the rationale behind using the survey approach is that it also helped the respondents remain anonymous. Notably, using the survey approach was cost-effective since a large amount of data was collected from gamblers drawn from different countries, namely, the UK, the US, Canada, and New Zealand.

Research Questions

  • What are the typical demographics of online gamblers in the UK, Canada, the US, and New Zealand?
  • What are the common health issues that are associated with online gaming?
  • What are the typical demographic differences between the UK, Canada, the US, and New Zealand?
  • What are the differences in age or gender in the gambler’s experiences?

Target Audience

As described, the target audience for the research was drawn from four countries, the US, the UK, Canada, and NZ. The study aimed to recruit over 400 participants split evenly across the given countries, who were 18 years old and had reported being involved in different online gambling activities.

Participants

As per the data provided, 404 participants were recruited for the study; females and males were recruited from the UK, the US, Canada, and New Zealand.

Methods of Data Collection

In the current research, data was collected through primary sources; in this regard, it is important to understand that an online survey platform was used to recruit participants for the study. The participants answered over 10 questions comprising different texts, multiple choices, and Likert Scales were used to ask different questions where necessary.

Anonymity and Confidentiality of Data

Ethical consideration is essential when carrying out a quantitative research methodology; in the current research, the participants were not asked to provide their identifiable data, including address, telephone numbers, places of work, email, or name. Therefore, it is evident that the study remained anonymous, and that confidentiality was maintained. Additionally, the information obtained from the participants was shared appropriately, as provided by the data protection protocols, to ensure it was not leaked.

Survey Limitations

The participants were comprised of both males and females. However, there was a disproportional between the males (46.9%) and females (53.1%), which illustrates that the final results from the analysis could be skewed towards the females. However, due to how the data was collected, it is evident that each participant was allowed to answer the survey based on their understanding. Hence there could be a high rate of non-response which could affect the results’ validity, accuracy, and reliability.

Study Results

Introduction

As described, a sample of 404 participants was recruited in this survey that was evenly drawn across the four countries (UK, US, NZ & CA). Different questions with varied texts were used in the study and were critical in providing a detailed understanding of the research objective. The data was collected and coded in Excel (Spreadsheets). However, the data was imported to SPSS for analysis. Appropriate statistical methods and tests were used in the analysis; in this regard, it is important to understand that a descriptive analysis was conducted in which tables and figures were used for presentation. The analysis of the results is explained below.

Bar Chart of Players by region and Gender

Gender Results

Based on the above figure, most respondents were females in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. However, the figure illustrates that most respondents were males in the US and Canada. Cumulatively the figure shows that females were the majority in the study; this is contracted to the expected outcomes, which established that males are more likely to be involved in online gambling activities than women.

Age Difference

Bar Chart of Players by age and Region

The above figure illustrates a significant and huge age variance among the participants in the given countries. Previous studies reveal that most online gamblers are between 20 and 30 years old. Based on the analysis, most of the participants involved in online gambling were aged between 18 and 29 years, followed by 30 to 44 years, replicating the findings as per the previous studies. Additionally, the results reveal that the largest number of gamblers aged 18 to 29 years were from New Zealand, while a substantial number aged between 45 to 60 or more years above were from the United States. These results illustrate that most of the individuals involved in online gambling in the US were from an older population.

Type of Device Used

Device type Frequencies
Device TypeResponses% of Cases
#%
💻Laptop/PC14926.0%37.5%
📱Mobile Device32456.5%81.6%
📱Tablet6811.9%17.1%
🎮Consoleb325.6%8.1%
Total573100.0%144.3%
a. Dichotomy group tabulated at value 1.
b. Play station, Xbox, smart tv etc.

In determining the type of device that was commonly used by the gamblers, the participants were required to select from the given items, thus based on the findings above, 56.5% of the participants revealed that they mostly used mobile devices to undertake their online gaming activities, 26% used Laptop/PC, 11.9% used tablets and 5.6% used Console (Play Station, Xbox, Smart Tv and others. The results can be explained through the figure below. The figure below illustrates that mobile devices were universally used across the four countries; this is a true reflection of the previous studies, which reveal that most online gamblers use mobile devices to conduct their online gambling activities. However, the figure illustrates that the use of laptops was high in Canada compared to other countries.

Bar Chart of Gambling devices by region and device

Introduction to Gambling

Participants Online Engagement

How often do you engage in online gambling?
Valid#%Valid %Cumulative %
About once a week7117.617.617.6
A few times a month5413.413.430.9
A few times a week12330.430.461.4
Every day4611.411.472.8
Less than once a month7719.119.191.8
Once a month338.28.2100.0
Total404100.0100.0 

The survey sought to establish, on average, how often did the participants engage in online gambling activities; as per the results, 17.6% stated that they engaged in online gambling about once a week, 13.4% a few times a month, 30.4% a few times a week, 11.4% every day, 19.1% less than once a month, and 8.2% once a month. Hence based on the majority of online gamblers stated that they engaged in online gambling a few times a week. The results are well-explained and tabulated in the figure below.

Bar chart of How often players engage in Gambling by region

Based on the figure above, the majority of the participants stated that they engaged in online gaming a few times a week, however across the different countries, i.e., Canada, the UK, the US and New Zealand, a majority of the participants from the US stated that they engaged in online gaming less than once a month.

Hours Spent on Online Gambling

On average, how many hours do you spend online recreationally a week (gaming, social media, or gambling)?
Valid#%Valid %Cumulative%
1-2 hours10325.525.525.5
3-4 hours9824.324.349.8
5-10 hours5513.613.663.4
10+ hours5714.114.177.5
Less than an hour9122.522.5100.0
Total404100.0100.0 

On average most of the participants 25.5% stated that they spent 1-2 hours on gambling or social media, 24.3% spent 3-4 hours, 13.6% 5-10 hours, 14.1% 10 hours and above and 22.5% of the participant spent less than an hour on online gambling. In addition, the figure below illustrates differences between the hours gamblers spend across the four countries on social media or gambling.

Bar chart of how many hours players spend gambling recreationally per week by region

In comparison to the number of hours spent on gambling, the findings reveal that in the United Kingdom, gamblers spent less than an hour on social media; however, in the United States, most gamblers spent approximately 3-4 hours on social media.

Health Concerns and Experiences

The survey sought to establish whether online gambling had essential impacts on the health of the gambler. Based on the table below, the participants identified some of their health experiences with online gambling. Previous studies have proven that online gambling is highly associated with health problems, which include physical, social, and mental concerns. As per the results, some of the health experiences that the participants mentioned include; eye strain or vision problems, neck or back pain, headaches or migraines, wrist or hand pain, sleep disorders or insomnia, anxiety or depression, social isolation, extreme levels of stress, acne or other skin issues and others (Gainsbury, 2015). The analysis of the survey found that of the responses given by the participants, some of the common health experiences were eye strain or vision problems (10.7%), neck or back pain (14.4%), headaches or migraines (14.1%), sleep disorders or insomnia (11.4%), anxiety or depression (15.9%), and extreme levels of stress (10.3%). Consequently, the survey sought to find out the health experiences of the participants across the given countries; the results are shown in the figure below.

Health experiences Frequencies
Health ExperiencesResponses% of Cases
#%
Eye strain or vision problems11910.7%35.6%
Neck or back pain16014.4%47.9%
Headaches or migraines15614.1%46.7%
Wrist or hand pain928.3%27.5%
Sleep disorders or insomnia12611.4%37.7%
Anxiety or depression17715.9%53.0%
Social isolation827.4%24.6%
Extreme levels of stress11410.3%34.1%
Acne or other skin issues847.6%25.1%
Total1110100.0%332.3%
a. Dichotomy group tabulated at value 1.
Bar chart of how many health concerns by players by region

The figure above illustrates the participants’ health concerns in the respective countries. According to the results, a few participants reported having experienced acne or other skin issues, social isolation, and wrist or hand pain. However, most of the respondents in the four countries revealed that they experienced high levels of anxiety or depression, neck or back pains and headaches or migraines.

Bar chart of Players health experience by age

The above figure illustrates the age difference of the participants about the participant’s health experiences. According to the results, as shown in the above figure, many participants aged between 18 to 29 years reported having experienced anxiety or depression, headaches, or migraines. However, those aged between 30 and 44 years reported that they mostly experienced headaches, migraines, neck or back pain, and anxiety or depression. However, those aged between 45 and 60 or above reported having experienced minimal health issues from online gambling.

Response to the Research Questions

Gender

Based on the earlier studies’ results, it was expected that males would have a higher prevalence of online gambling than women; however, based on the findings, overall, women had a higher prevalence than males. However, regarding the differences across the given countries, in this regard, females had a higher prevalence in UK and NZ than males, while in US and CA, males had a slightly higher proportion.

Age

Previous studies had revealed that the average age involved in online gambling was between 20 to 30 years; the survey results revealed a significant variance and difference between the age of the participant in the given countries. However, the findings are consistent with the results of the previous studies, which revealed that most of the participants involved in online gambling are aged between 20 and 30 years; this is because the survey found that the highest number of online gamblers is between 18 and 29 years.

Online Gambling Device

Previous results revealed that the common device used in online gambling was the mobile device; thus, across all the countries, the survey established that the most common device the participants used was the mobile phone.

Health Concerns

As expected, the current survey revealed that participants across the given countries stated that online gambling brought about huge health concerns, including headaches, neck pains, social isolation, anxiety and depression and others.

Limitations and Caveats to Data and Results

One of the major limitations of the data and results is that the data obtained for the survey was not proportional to the target population because some of the participants involved in the study may not be gamblers. Some of the participants may not be gamblers, or they may also not have any gambling experience, and this may affect the validity of the final results. A further limitation may be derived from how the data was collected, as indicated that an anonymous survey was used to collect data from the participants; even though this is a good approach, the results may lead to a disparity based on the age and gender disparities that may result from participants signed in for the survey. Therefore, this means there is no sample representative. Hence the findings will not be generalized to represent the total population or may not be replicated for use in other future studies.

Conclusions and Recommendations

In conclusion, outcomes were expected in age; device use, and health concerns and implications associated with online gambling. However, based on the findings, it was generally established that females had a higher prevalence of online gaming than males; however, a higher prevalence of females to males was experienced in the UK and CA. Additionally, the study established that most participants involved in online gambling were between 18 and 29 years old and that the mobile phone was the common device used.
Most of the participants also revealed that they spent 1-2 hours on online gambling about once a week; this implies that most of the participants involved in the study were not addicted to online gambling activities. Concerning health issues related to online gambling, most participants reported having different health issues, including headaches, social isolation, anxiety and depression and others. The health concerns were proportionally equal across the four countries.
One of the recommendations, results from the data collection method, is to enhance sample presentation. It would be important to use a different method to ensure that data is not skewed to a particular population; this means that the questionnaires can be designed and sent to different organizations using emails, and this may enhance sample representativeness.

References

  • Catania, M., & Griffiths, M. D. (2021). Understanding online voluntary self-exclusion in gambling: An empirical study using account-based behavioural tracking data. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health18(4), 2000.
  • Gainsbury, S. M. (2015). Online gambling addiction: the relationship between internet gambling and disordered gambling. Current addiction reports 2, 185–193.
  • Liu, M. T., Dong, S., & Zhu, M. (2021). The application of digital technology in the gambling industry. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics33(7), 1685-1705.
  • Statista. (2023, January 13). Topic: Gross gambling yield (GGY) of the online (remote) betting, bingo and casino industry in Great Britain from April 2010 to March 2022. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/467885/ggy-of-the-remote-gambling-industry-in-great-britain-uk/
  • Wong, H. Y., Mo, H. Y., Potenza, M. N., Chan, M. N. M., Lau, W. M., Chui, T. K., … & Lin, C. Y. (2020). Relationships between internet gaming disorder severity, problematic social media use, sleep quality and psychological distress. International journal of environmental research and public health17(6), 1879
 
 
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