Gamblers Losing Interest in Social Media Pitches Says UKGC

The Gambling Commission published its 2017 gambling participation report on Tuesday, which concluded that despite spending more time on their mobile devices than ever, UK gamblers were less responsive to gambling companies’ social media advertising.

The report collects data from around 1,000 randomly selected subjects every three months throughout the year. The process tracks participation rates, problem gambling estimates, online gambling behaviour, consumer awareness of gambling management tools and attitudes towards gambling.

Gambling participation and perceptions figures released by the UK Gambling Commission.

Gambling participation and perceptions figures released by the ©UK Gambling Commission

Just over a quarter (26%) of online gamblers told researchers they followed a gambling operator on social media, down 6% from 2016. The trend was similar across all the most popular social media platforms. Facebook reported a 6% decrease in engagement, down to 20% for 2017, whilst Twitter was down 3% to 12%, Google Plus dropped from 7% to 5% and Instagram was down from 5% to 4%. Mobile gambling in general, however, was up. More than half of online gamblers (51%) did so using a mobile phone or tablet – up from 43% in 2016.

Just 19% of UK gamblers (down from 21% in 2016) said that social media advertising had convinced them to spend money on gambling. The figure for the 18 -24 age demographic, however, was up 4% to 40%.

Free bets and bonuses remained the most successful forms of advertising for gamblers, with 40% saying they had decided to spend money due to these promotions. Television adverts accounted for 26% of successful advertising, whilst online made up 23%.

Ben Haden, programme director at the Gambling Commission, said that the 2017 data presents a comprehensive view on how the British public is choosing to gamble.

Our research shows the main factor that influences where someone gambles, is a company with a reputation for being fair and trustworthy. The message from that is clear – gambling companies that treat their customers well and act responsibly will be at an increasingly competitive advantage. Ben Haden, Programme Director, the UK Gambling Commission

The Gambling Industry’s Public Image Problem

The UKGC report provided data on what was a very turbulent year for gambling operators in terms of public perception. A record low of 33% of Britons believe that gambling is conducted fairly and can be trusted. The figure, which was as high as 49.3% in 2011, continues to dwindle as FOBTs, problem gambling and fines for UK operators made headline news in 2017.

The number of people surveyed who agreed that “gambling is associated with criminal activity” was up to 41% – a 2% increase from 2016. Unsurprisingly, non-gamblers were more likely to agree with the statement than those who gambled regularly.

Of the 1,000 participants, eight were identified as problem gamblers, whilst 39 were deemed at-risk of becoming addicted to gambling.

You can read the full report here.

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