British Gambling Commission reports data from experimental gambling survey

British Gambling Commission reports data from experimental gambling survey

The new method of data collection found that 2.5 per cent of respondents scored eight or above on the Problem Gambling Severity Index.

UK.- The Gambling Commission has announced that it has completed the experimental phase of its project to improve the way it collects data on gambling participation and the prevalence of difficulties or harms.

The project adopted a new ‘push-to-web’ survey methodology, which is intended to replace the Gambling Commission’s longstanding telephone surveys. Stakeholder contributions to the project have included feedback from more than 130 respondents including through engagement panels and workshops amid a consultation in 2020.

The findings remain experimental or “official statistics in development”, according to the  Office for Statistics Regulation. Conducted by NatCen, the final phase applied insights from Steps 1 and 2 to Data gathered from approximately 4,000 respondents between April and May 2023. Half gambled in some way in the prior four weeks and 61 per cent in the prior 12 months. Of the first group, 52.6 per cent were men and 47.3 per cent women.

Those aged 45 to 54 had the highest rate of gambling at 61.6 per cent. Those aged 75 and over had the lowest rate at 39.6 per cent. The National Lottery was the most popular gambling activity (31.8 per cent in the prior four weeks. Online lottery purchases outpaced retail 25 per cent to 17.9 per cent. Online sports betting participation was 11.6 per cent and in-person betting just 5.1 per cent. Online casino gaming participation was 2.4 per cent and land-based casino 1.5 per cent. 

Participants said monetary gain and enjoyment were the main motivations for gambling. Asked about satisfaction levels, 44 per cent of those who gambled gave their last experience a score of six or over, while 37 per cent rated it a neutral score of five. Some 2.5 per cent of respondents scored eight or above on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI).

The new survey methodology 

The new method of data collection had a lower response rate than the traditional face-to-face method and depended on the participant understanding the questions. Once the new approach becomes official, a larger sample size will be used. 

However, concerns have been raised that the survey may appeal more to gamblers than non-gamblers. The Gambling Commission has commissioned Professor Patrick Sturgis of the London School of Economics to undertake an independent review of the new methodology.

Head of Statistics Helen Bryce said: “Over the past three years, we have devoted substantial resources – money, people, and time – and collaborated with field experts to create the best consumer gambling survey possible. We have reached a significant milestone today by publishing the findings from the project’s final experimental stage.”

She added: “We need to establish a new baseline to track future changes in gambling behaviour in Great Britain. Adapting our methods is challenging but crucial to ensure our statistics remain relevant and robust. With the extensive development and testing of our new methodology and the projected annual response of around 20,000 participants, we are committed to ensuring that our approach is as pertinent and sound as possible.

“We will publish his findings and recommendations early next year, before the methodology becomes our official statistics in 2024.”

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