Recent Study on Casino Gambling Tells the Story of Lifestyle in Britain

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Britons love to play slots and hate paigow. The only downside? Paigow players tend to be healthy, and slots players… not so much.

The gaming company Jackpot UK recently produced an excellent detailed study in how gambling corresponds with lifestyle indicators like weight, health and frequency of exercise, breaking up different games by the average body-mass index (BMI) of their players.

In order to get the information they surveyed 2,131 British gamblers about their lifestyle, physical fitness and casino gambling habits. After analyzing the respondents, they came up with some very interesting results.

In a nation of gamblers, the average gambler is the average citizen

• Slots are the most popular casino game in Britain

• Poker players tend to be healthier than other gamblers

• Those playing at online casinos in Britain are less healthy than land-based players

Britons love to gamble, and a typical casino in London or Newcastle is likely to be frequented by people from all walks of life, from teenagers to grannies to posh society women to gritty factory workers.

The statistics showed that the average gambler is really the average citizen, just slightly older and more likely to be male, with men making up 58% of the gambling market even though women comprise a slightly larger share of the total population.

The average BMI of a British gambler is 27, equal to the national average but still higher than what doctors consider to be “normal”: 18-25. Average age is 43 years old, slightly higher than the mean age of 40.

Most popular games

The survey found slots to be the most popular gambling game in Britain, with 51% of respondents saying that they play it most often. That isn’t great news, because slot players are the least healthy demographic among English gamblers (more on that later).

Poker came up second, with 15% of respondents preferring it. Next were video poker, blackjack and roulette each at about 10%, with paigow, craps, and “other” rounding up the list. Britons do not appear to be as interested in blackjack as their cousins across the pond.

Slot and video poker players are the most likely to be obese

According to the study those preferring slots over table games like blackjack, baccarat and poker have the highest BMI on average, 31. This is characterized as “mildly obese,” and doctors agree that it can reduce life expectancy by about 3 years.

73% of sots players fail to meet the UK government’s guidelines for physical activity, and are more likely than the national average to smoke regularly (24% to 20%).

Video poker players aren’t far behind when it comes to poor fitness performance, with 72% failing to meet fitness guidelines and had the second-highest BMI with an average of 30, well above the national average of 27.

Poker players are young, healthy but tend to enjoy alcohol

British poker players are the youngest gambling demographic, with an average age of 38. They also have the lowest average BMI (25, on par with baccarat players). They also tend to be male, although the gap is shrinking.

Being male and comparatively thin, regulars at British poker rooms are the opposite demographic of slots player. They have one thing in common, however; both are more likely than other gamblers to exceed the recommended weekly alcohol intake (26% of female slot players and 25% of male poker players.)

This reflects a trend over the past two decades in the poker industry. Whereas the stereotype of the poker player is the grizzled old cowboy in poor health, these days many players are men and women in their 20s who put a premium on physical fitness.

Online gambling is hazardous to your health

While playing at online casinos in Britain is much more convenient than land-based, the study shows that those who gamble primarily online are less physically fit than those who prefer to use mobile devices or visit brick-and-mortar casinos.

This trend was most visible within slot players, as those playing slots primarily online are the most likely group in Britain to have a higher-than-average BMI and associated health problems. If you want to stay fit and healthy, play slot games on your mobile device instead.

The likely explanation is that a high BMI is caused by a sedentary lifestyle, which tends to combine a lack of exercise with poor eating habits. Those who gamble online regularly are more likely to spend more time online in general.

Table game players are the sportiest

While machine gamers were the most likely to have high BMIs and fail to meet recommended exercise standards, those paying poker, roulette, blackjack and paigow on average exceeded the national average for physical activity.

But while table game players are likely to exercise regularly, they aren’t necessarily all that healthy. Roulette and blackjack players have BMIs higher than the national average of 27.

Paigow players, however, are both sporty and thin, having an average BMI of 23, well below the national average for Britain.


Overall, these figures don’t paint a rosy picture for the health of the average British gambler. Britons overwhelmingly prefer slots, a game which is associated with obesity, lack of exercise, drinking and smoking (not to mention the unfriendly house edge!).

Poker, roulette and baccarat players are much healthier, but also less numerous than their machine gaming counterparts. Perhaps the UK should combine its crackdown in machine gaming with a campaign to encourage people to play poker!

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