The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has been actively improving the way it collects data about the industry and consumers, with a new project launched in 2020 now completing its final Step 3. The goal of these steps has been to see how efficient data collection has become and whether the known and cited data about specific issues, such as problem gambling, actually corresponds to objective reality.
The UKGC has already once issued critics of groups, including media outlets, that are misusing its factual data whether knowingly or unknowingly. The regulator also warns that even Step 3 of the project is still experimental, and that data collection was conducted in only April and May 2023, and not an entire year.
Neither the findings nor the statistics are fully developed, and ought to be taken with a grain of salt. The latest step saw around 4,000 people interviewed using a number of questions that are still being improved upon, the UKGC stated in its official blog post detailing the results.
The UKGC also wants to understand the impact that its new approach to gathering statistics would have on consumers and wants consumers to be familiar with the methodology as well, so that the results can be genuine, actionable, and useful.
One big caveat is that the latest data is not truly comparable with previous surveys as the methodology has been changed.
So, although there is an increase in the number of people believed to be problem gamblers in the latest project – and specifically Step 3 – this should be taken with a grain of salt as the previously cited figure, 0.4%, was gathered by using a different method altogether.
The new data collection indicated that 2.5% of respondents scored 8 or more on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), and another 3.5% scored between 3 and 7. Gamblers were mostly motivated by monetary reasons, the regulator specifies, as people are indeed hoping to win.
Although posting a "shocking" difference with the old numbers, the UKGC is well aware of both the upsides and drawbacks of its new approach. The main carp against the new method is that consumers may not be able to comprehend the questions because the interviews are conducted via a push-to-web methodology as opposed to the costlier face-to-face interviewing process.
Remote data collection also usually has a much lower response rate. The sample size is also small – 4,000 respondents, but once it’s scaled over a full year, it will have 20,000 people which will make it one of the largest sample sizes used to conduct and understand gambling behaviors.
Image credit: Unsplash.com