The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has updated stakeholders on progress related to its statistics, research and data collection on “gambling participation and the prevalence of problem gambling”.
2021 and 2022 saw the Commission task social research agency NatCen and the University of Glasgow with testing a new pilot methodology to improve data collection and statistical analysis on its desired metrics.
The research unit tested “a new push-to-web methodology, using random probability sampling, to measure gambling participation, gambling harms, experience of problem gambling and a range of other related topics among adults aged 16 and over living in Great Britain.”
Following its initial phase, in the summer of 2022, the pilot was rolled-out into a research survey to begin the ‘experimental phase of the project’ undertaking data collection within live environments.
“Subject to the success of the experimental phase the survey will move, in July 2023, to continuous official statistics data collection,” the Commission had detailed in the initial phase.
Updating stakeholders, it was announced that NatCen has now completed part of the experimental phase of the project to refine and expand the survey’s research methodology and questionnaire content.
The Commission reported on two data collection experiments undertaken by NatCen, focused on “household selection and presentation of harms statements” and the “construction and presentation of the gambling activity list”.
Experiment-1 saw NatCen examine the best ways to encourage gamblers and non-gamblers to participate in the survey and determine the optimal approach for inviting adults per household.
Focus was centred on survey questions for assessing gambling-related harms. Key recommendations include inviting up to two adults per household, retaining a four-point answer scale for harm-led questions, and implementing specific improvements on screening and answer options for harm-related questions.
In Experiment-2, NatCen focused on the construction and presentation of the gambling activity list, with the inclusion of Quick Response (QR) codes to facilitate online survey access.
The agency recommended using a ‘long-list approach’ for gambling participation questions, improving routing instructions for postal questionnaires, and retaining QR codes for future surveys to be accessed by participants.
Developing the survey, NatCen moves onto ‘Stage-3’, “the final test of the agreed approach”, which will review the agreed measures to ensure the survey design and content are robust for continuous data collection.
Additionally, the Commission has organised qualitative follow-up interviews to explore the experiences of those who reported occasional gambling-related harms.
The Commission is yet to publish the individual data downloads of the experimental phase but has provided stakeholders access to its Gambling Participation and PG Prevalence Report.