Seeking to better develop the ‘collective understanding’ of British gambling and gambling behaviour, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has scheduled a conference of cross-sector stakeholders.
Set for 9 March, 150 representatives from research, academia, industry, the UKGC’s own advisory bodies and the third sector have been invited to the event, which aims to ‘close the gaps’ in knowledge around UK gambling.
Ben Haden, UKGC Director of Research and Statistics, explained that in recent years there has been an ‘increasing range’ of research, data sets and ‘big data’ approaches and analytics that can be utilised to better understand gambling behaviour.
However, he added: “Let’s be honest – the collective understanding we all have of both general gambling behaviour, the risk posed to consumers, the harms experienced and what industry can do to minimise it effectively is not the sum of these parts. We’re all missing some of the pieces of this jigsaw.”
The UKGC has consistently had consultations with stakeholders from across the gambling industry and other sectors to inform its policies and practices over the past two years.
These have occurred within the context of the Gambling Act review, as policymakers evaluate the future legislative and regulatory direction of UK betting and gaming.
Consultations so far have covered licensing, compliance, and enforcement policy procedures; penalties for regulatory breaches and operator accountability; and most recently the application of the GAMSTOP self-exclusion scheme.
A breakdown of the conference will see the day start with a speech from Alison Pritchard, Deputy National Statistician and Director General for Data Capability of the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This will be followed by a programme of panels, presentations, engagement on key topics and Q&As, with speakers from both the gambling industry and other external stakeholders.
There will also be ‘poster sessions from six developing research projects’, with the UKGC stating that it hopes to give early career researchers ‘the chance to show some new thinking’.
Haden continued: “We know that by having such a diverse range of views in the same room everyone is unlikely to agree on everything. But that’s okay. We are looking for a moment where we can all be honest, reflect on what we don’t know or lack the capability to appreciate and collaborate on what takes us forward the fastest.
“I think the fact that we maxed out attendance for this Conference before we even closed RSVPs also shows we’re not the only ones who think getting together to discuss these issues is important.
“After the day, we’ll be publishing some reflections on the Conference as well, but to those of you attending, my team and the Commission are really looking forward to seeing you on 9 March.”