Ben Haden, the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) Director of Research and Statistics, has shared his thoughts and analysis of the Commission’s pilot scheme testing a new research methodology on interaction and participation with gambling products and services.
The scheme was launched at the beginning of the year and has since completed its first-stage developments, crucial in establishing how data and statistics will be gathered with regards to the UK gambling industry.
Haden declared the pilot a ‘significant moment’ changing the Commission’s mindset from ‘what should we do?’ to making proactive change.
“We are looking to modernise the questionnaire, increase frequency and flexibility so we can understand and respond to changes better and faster,” Haden explained on the pilot’s goals.
“It is all about continuing to improve the statistics we rely on to make decisions and demonstrate our impact.”
The first stage of the pilot focused on how new methodologies will impact the results of previous approaches. Results from this first stage will influence the ‘experimental phase’ of the pilot next year by examining how the new methodologies would influence previous gambling research.
UKGC’s Research lead welcomed the NatCen Consortium’s oversight on the project, noting that it helped to develop and expand new methodologies. Previous collaboration with the NatCen social research unit includes the evaluation of credit card wagering and the subsequent ban in April 2020.
Leading the pilot’s development, Haden acknowledged that “we won’t have all the good ideas, the right experience or the varied perspectives that will help us with the tricky challenges and the difficult trade-offs that we have ahead to get to an accessible, expansive questionnaire.”
Workshop feedback gathered from academics, policymakers and industry representatives, reflected a common concern of the balancing act required to settle information gathered by a questionnaire, noting that “seeing where it could help answer some questions and where we need to recognise that it would be better to get information from different sources” would be welcome.
Furthermore, the UKGC’s research unit has gathered helpful perspectives by questions raised on product complexities and player’s personal preferences “such as in-play; how we capture respondent feelings about their play – positive and negative; and how we ensure the questions are as relevant for everyone”
Haden concluded his update by reminding all relevant stakeholders to participate in the NatCen measuring gambling prevalence survey, where they will be able to submit their perspectives.