The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is asking for feedback and guidance on changing its ‘research methodology’ used to collect data on gambling participation and problem gambling prevalence statistics.
The Commission has launched a consultation seeking feedback on its new approach with a goal to establish a new ‘standard on research into gambling behaviours’.
As part of its regulatory function, the UKGC is tasked with providing the government with the most accurate data and insights on gambling participation and further factors influencing problem gambling.
To date, the UKGC has collected its data conducting surveys of UK adults, with research produced per the standards set out by the Government Statistical Service in the ‘Code of Practice for Statistics‘.
This latest consultation has been launched to ensure that the UKGC gathers all perspectives as its plans to trail new ‘methodology approaches’.
“The Commission 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 UKGC detailed in its statement.
Conducting its review of the gambling industry’s ‘social and economic harms’, the House of Lords Select Committee, chaired by Lord Grade of Yarmouth, cited that problem gambling had been undermined by a lack of reliable facts on the matter.
Chris Murphy Analysis:
No one knows and recognises player habits quite like gaming operators do – a fact that often appears to be overlooked by academics who are hired at significant cost to undertake studies in the field of problem gambling. And while the regulator’s latest consultation appears, cursorily, to be an exercise at stabbing in the dark, it does at least offer industry stakeholders some scope to help shape the way that future studies might be conducted.
It’s also a timely opportunity for the sector to demonstrate a proactive approach to safer gambling by helping academics to not only ask the right questions, but in a way that gamblers fully understand.