A new study has revealed that the percentage of people at risk of developing a gambling problem is much higher than previously thought. A Wales Gambling Commission Report in 2015 found that 5% of the Welsh population were at risk, while the new study of gambling habits in Wales suggests that the figure is more like 27%.

The wide-ranging study undertaken by the University of South Wales highlighted a number of issues, including the density of betting shops in deprived areas, an absence of gambling treatment centres, and the use of gambling as a coping strategy for other problems.

It also notably found that the prevalence of online gambling, particularly for sporting events, and Fix Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) were significantly higher than previous studies indicated. The current study suggests that online and FOBT gambling are both at 11% compared to 5% and 8% respectively in 2015.

The University of South Wales report was commissioned by five Assembly Members, including Pontypridd AM Mick Antoniw who were concerned by a rise in anecdotal stories of constituents struggling with gambling problems.

Mick Antoniw, Assembly Member for Pontypridd said: “Problem gambling must no longer be ignored. What the report exposes so far is just the tip of the iceberg. Problem gambling is a significant and growing public health time-bomb. It is a problem that will get worse if we do not take action. Westminster must act, but there is also things we can do in Wales to educate the public and to restrict the growth of betting machines.

“The gambling industry’s lust for profit is creating this problem and it has a moral responsibility to change its ways and provide proper funding to help those whose lives have been blighted.”

Download the report here: