Since the National Lottery was launched in 1994, lotteries have become part of weekly life in the UK. Now, players can take part in a wide range of lottery games from around the world on a daily basis as well as scratch cards and instant win games. But what about the British Asian community? Do they enjoy the lottery as much as the UK’s white population?
A recent survey suggested British Asian are more socially conservative than the wider UK population. This would indicate they would also be less inclined to take part in gambling activities. And a 2011 study into the prevalence of gambling among people from Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds (carried out by researchers from the University of Salford and the National Centre for Social Research in London) seemed to back this up.
Lottery popular amongst British Asians
The study did show that lotteries are by far the most popular form of gambling amongst British Asians. Despite this, participation in lottery gaming amongst men and women is still lower than in the wider British population. Betting on horse racing seems to be of little interest with less than 1% of Asian men having participated in the previous week compared to more than 5% of white British males. And when it comes to bingo games, the figures drop even further with British Asians showing little to no interest in playing bingo games.
A high number of scratch card users
The area where the number of British Asian participants is closest to that of the white British population is scratch cards, with 5.6% of Asian men and 3.8% of Asian women having participated in the previous seven days compared to figures of 6.1% and 6.5% for British men and women, respectively.
Lottery gaming has come a long way since 1994. Players can now bet on dozens of lotteries from around the world such as the Hong Kong Mark 6 lottery, which has become a national institution in its home territory and has three draws every week, and the Italian SuperEnalotto, known as the Godfather of Lotto Draws. Lotteries are also one of the easiest forms of gambling to partake in.
In conclusion, gambling does not appear to be so widely accepted as a social pastime in the Asian community. This can be attributed to cultural differences and the slightly more socially conservative attitudes of British Asians. Gambling is not as entrenched in the Asian culture as it is in white British culture and those Asians who do participate are stepping across a social line that still exists between the communities.
However, those who do gamble are most likely to play the lottery. Almost certainly because lotteries and scratch cards are seen as the more socially acceptable form of betting in the Asian community with little outlay needed for potentially huge rewards. The aforementioned study showed that around 40% of Asians surveyed had taken part in some form of gambling in the previous 12 months and just over 20% had gambled in the previous week. The majority of those numbers were accounted for by the purchase of lottery tickets and scratch cards.