Gambling Commission launches consultation on problem gambling research

The UK Gambling Commission has launched a new consultation looking at the research methodology it uses to collect data on gambling participation in Britain.

The Gambling Commission has launched a new consultation into the research methodology it uses when collecting data on problem gambling among players and participation in gambling.

This comes after the UK government launched its review of the 2005 Gambling Act last month, which will also consider the role of the Commission going forward.

The Commission’s consultation

The UK’s gambling regulator is seeking feedback and guidance in relation to the methodology used to collect problem gambling and gambling participation data in the UK. 

Set to run until 12 February, the consultation is intended to help the regulatory body identify potential changes to its existing approach to ensure that the data and research collected is as accurate and relevant as possible.

The regulator is seeking responses from consumers, consumer interest groups, charities, academics, licensees and organisations that have an interest in gambling regulation and research.

The Commission said: “We believe that a new approach will enable us to set the standard for authoritative research into gambling.”

The consultation document contains a proposal to replace its health, telephone and online surveys with just one methodology which according to the Commission would be more efficient, timely and cost-effective.

Why is the Commission doing this?

In its announcement, the Commission said it is “ambitious about improving the quality, robustness and timeliness of our statistics. We, therefore, set out a commitment in our 2020/21 Business Plan to ‘review our approach to measuring participation and prevalence and publish conclusions’.”

The Commission also said it had identified several criteria that this new approach must enable.

According to the regulator, these criteria include the ability to bring questions on gambling participation and the prevalence of gambling into a single survey and using a wider criteria to source responses from a larger demographic.

The Commission also wants the ability to change the content in its questionnaire to keep up with market trends and ensure the collected data reflects the entire populations across England, Scotland and Wales.

If the Commission were able to do this, it would grant the body a greater level of control over its survey and would allow it to publish annual problem gambling statistics for the UK market. 

The body also aims to carry out work that will allow it to publish updated data on a regular basis.

As part of its regulatory function, the Commission is required to provide the government with the most accurate data and insights on gambling participation and the factors that influence gambling problems.

To date, the Commission has collected its data by conducting surveys of UK adults, with research produced in accordance with standards outlined by the Government Statistical Service in the ‘Code of Practice for Statistics’.

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