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Half of over 50s gamble regularly

Joanna Faith
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Joanna Faith

Half of over 50s gamble on a regular basis and spend on average £18 a month doing so, according to a study.

While some people aged 50 and over buy a scratch card or lottery ticket every now and then, four out of ten gamble once a week and one in five place a wager at least two or three times a week.

Men are most likely to enjoy a flutter with one in five placing bets at least two or three times a week. One in eight women buy scratch cards, play bingo or head to the bookies a couple of times a week, the research by Saga Share Dealing found.

Almost one in 10 over 50s said they feel more comfortable gambling or betting than investing money in the stock market, despite the stratospheric odds of popular gambles such as the lottery. Yet the stock market has the potential to yield a much more reliable return.

If over 50s had placed the average flutter of £18 per month into the FTSE 100 index over the past five years, they’d be sitting on £1,490 today, 38% more than was originally invested.

Joanna Fowler, head of share dealing at Saga Personal Finance, said: “It is fun to place a bet and cheer a horse on in the Grand National or check your lottery ticket to see if your numbers come in, but its important people don’t bet beyond their means.

“If people have any spare cash at the end of the month that they don’t know what to do with they would be wise to consider buying shares instead of scratch cards as they may be more likely to see a return.”

People in Yorkshire spend the most out of any region on gambling, almost £32 a month, while people in the South West and Wales are risk averse as they spend the least at just £12.50 a month.