Negative public attitudes towards gambling: Findings from the 2007 British Gambling Prevalence Survey using a new attitude scale

Abstract

A new 14-item scale of general attitudes towards gambling (the Attitudes Towards Gambling Scale: {ATGS)} was developed for use in the 2007 British Gambling Prevalence Survey. The development of the scale is described. Based on the responses of a representative sample of 8880 people of 16 years of age or more, evidence is presented of good internal reliability and statistically significant associations with a range of socio-demographic, own and family gambling and lifestyle variables. Overall, and in all sub-groups except the heaviest gamblers, attitudes were found to be negative: more people believed that gambling is foolish and dangerous, and of greater harm than benefit to families, communities and society as a whole, than the reverse. The majority, however, were against prohibition of gambling. Public opinion appears to be out of line with the view of gambling in Britain that lay behind the 2005 Gambling Act. It will be of interest to see whether attitudes change in the forthcoming years. The {ATGS} is a suitable measure for use in future surveys in the {UK} and in other English speaking countries. A new 14-item scale of general attitudes towards gambling (the Attitudes Towards Gambling Scale: {ATGS)} was developed for use in the 2007 British Gambling Prevalence Survey. The development of the scale is described. Based on the responses of a representative sample of 8880 people of 16 years of age or more, evidence is presented of good internal reliability and statistically significant associations with a range of socio-demographic, own and family gambling and lifestyle variables. Overall, and in all sub-groups except the heaviest gamblers, attitudes were found to be negative: more people believed that gambling is foolish and dangerous, and of greater harm than benefit to families, communities and society as a whole, than the reverse. The majority, however, were against prohibition of gambling. Public opinion appears to be out of line with the view of gambling in Britain that lay behind the 2005 Gambling Act. It will be of interest to see whether attitudes change in the forthcoming years. The {ATGS} is a suitable measure for use in future surveys in the {UK} and in other English speaking countries.

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