A pre-pandemic study shows 80% of islanders admit to gambling, with many having a flutter on the Christmas Lottery, but nearly 7% of gamblers are classed as 'at risk'.
Guernsey's Public Health department has just published the study but stress it was conducted pre-pandemic, by the Public Health department at Liverpool John Moore's University.
It shows a higher rate of gambling in Guernsey than in the UK. Here, 79.9% admit to gambling of some kind. In the Isle of Man it's close, at 75.9% but in UK it's 57% of the population.
2.4% of Guernsey's population were interviewed in 2019 and early 2020 and it was found that the vast majority, nearly 70%, bought Christmas Lottery tickets, including some under 18s.
Scratch cards came in second as the most popular way to gamble, with more than 46% buying them, well above the 20%-30% in the UK and Isle of Man.
Year-on-year sales also show more islanders buy them in Guernsey compared to neighbouring Jersey.
Dr Nicola Brink, Guernsey's Director of Public Health says the overall gambling situation may have worsened:
"It is my view that pandemic pressures and the ongoing economic challenges that have followed are likely, if anything, to have worsened or exacerbated the trends. Hence, we can think of the findings as the minimum extent of the issues affecting Guernsey residents in 2024 and beyond."
Nearly 1 in 5 gamblers classed as 'at risk' are under the age of 25, with prevalence decreasing through age.
Those who gamble are more likely to show poor physical and mental health, obesity, poor diet and nicotine addiction.
Dr Brink says the report recommends early intervention in schools, and other ways of helping problem gamblers:
"Making the pathways to accessing support clearer and considering policy and legislation matters to ensure that protection is given to vulnerable islanders."
Jon Taylor is the Senior States Lottery Officer and says despite the proceeds going to local charities, steps are being taken to mitigate harm to those buying an excessive number of tickets:
"We have been working with our distributor and network of resellers to develop initiatives that promote responsible play, which is about being informed about the risks and knowing your limits."