Official UK Problem Gambling Rate Set To Skyrocket Under New Model

November 24, 2023
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The UK Gambling Commission has completed the final step in the experimental phase of its project to improve data collection on gambling participation and the prevalence of problem gambling, publishing new data for the Gambling Survey for Great Britain.
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The UK Gambling Commission has completed the final step in the experimental phase of its project to improve data collection on gambling participation and the prevalence of problem gambling, publishing new data for the Gambling Survey for Great Britain.

The long ongoing project began with a consultation in December 2020 and the two previous phases helped to ensure a new survey design and questionnaire content that is “robust and fit for continuous data collection”, according to the Gambling Commission.

Some of the experimental findings include that 50 percent of respondents gambled on an activity in the past four weeks.

Overall, 2.5 percent of respondents scored 8 plus on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) screen, which is defined as “disordered gambling”, with a further 3.5 percent scoring between 3 and 7, which is classified as being a moderate-risk gambler. A further 8 percent were classified as low-risk gamblers.

That would set the problem gambling rate in the UK at more than ten times the previous official estimate. In advance of revealing the results of its new methodology, the commission warned that rates would likely skyrocket and caution against comparing numbers from the old and new systems.

The most popular gambling in the past four weeks was the National Lottery (32 percent), charity lotteries (15 percent) and National Lottery scratchcards (13 percent).

The latest update includes a sample of 4,000 respondents’ data collected in April and May 2023; however, as they are experimental statistics, “they are not yet fully developed and are still under evaluation”.

Gambling Commission head of statistics Helen Bryce explained that “the purpose of publishing them is so users can become familiar with and understand the impact of new methods and approaches on the findings before they become official statistics”.

“The significant work we have done to update the methodology, to refresh the questions asked and the change in focus of the survey to one being solely about gambling means the results are not comparable to previous ways we have collected this sort of data,” she said.

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