UKGC issues rallying call for unity on fresh research to prevent harm

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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has issued an industry plea for further collaboration, related to research on the prevention of gambling related harm.

Announcing its support for new research, which is set to explore if certain gambling products and environments are more harmful than others, the UKGC is enhancing its strategies and commitments to preventing harm for customers.

Ben Haden, programme director at the Gambling Commission, said: “Our strategy sets out our commitment to preventing harm to consumers from the risks gambling can pose. Success of this relies on growing our evidence base, to better understand the types of gambling products and services that present more of a risk of harm to consumers than others.

“Gambling firms have an important role to play in achieving this, as they hold comprehensive data that is vital to this research. It goes beyond simply analysing the data which is already reported to us by operators, and we will be encouraging the industry to get involved.”

Commissioned by GambleAware, and supported by the UKGC and the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB), information about consumer gambling activity is to be utilised as part of the extensive research project.

Operators are to be asked to provide certain data, so a more full understanding of how products, environments and characteristics vary, in addition to helping identify which are closely associated with harmful play.

The aim of this approach is to strategically request data from operators that can potentially be reused, where relevant, for further research projects.

A brief, produced by the RGSB, setting out the proposed approach is set, and once a research team is in place, operators will be contacted by the Commission to explain how they can get involved at an early stage.

Claire Wyllie, director of research commissioning at GambleAware, said: “GambleAware is pleased to be working with the Gambling Commission and the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, on a project that will help us to better understand gambling behaviour across different products, and to know what characteristics are most strongly associated with harm, focusing on the online sector in the first phase and moving onto other sectors in subsequent phases.

“For the first time, we will be able to look comprehensively across the gambling industry, to understand where the risk of harm lies, and by making data available to researchers [the] industry can gain new insights to prevent harm, and to ensure customers gamble safely.”