UKGC conference to ‘close the gaps’ in UK gambling knowledge

UK Gambling Commission
Image: Ralf Liebhold/Shutterstock

The UK Gambling Commission is inviting cross-sector stakeholders to discuss how to ‘close the gaps’ in UK gambling knowledge at a conference later this week.

On 9 March, 150 stakeholders across research, academia, industry, the UKGC’s advisory bodies and the third sector will come together at the event to improve their understanding of gambling behaviour. 

Ben Haden, Director of Research and Statistics at the UKGC, has stated that an ‘increasing range’ of research datasets and ‘big data’ approaches and analytics has helped to develop the understanding of gambling and gambling habits. 

However, he made it clear that more work needs to be done as ‘pieces of this jigsaw’ puzzle are still missing.

Haden stated: “Let’s be honest – the collective understanding we all have of both general gambling behaviour, the risk posed to consumers, the harms experienced and what industry can do to minimise it effectively is not the sum of these parts. We’re all missing some of the pieces of this jigsaw.”

The upcoming conference will begin with a speech from Alison Pritchard, Deputy National Statistician and Director General for Data Capability at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), followed by a programme of panels, presentations, engagement on key topics and Q&As, with speakers from both the gambling industry and other external stakeholders.

Six developing research projects will also have poster sessions throughout the day, with early career researchers being given an opportunity to ‘show some new thinking’.

Haden continued: “We know that by having such a diverse range of views in the same room everyone is unlikely to agree on everything. But that’s okay. We are looking for a moment where we can all be honest, reflect on what we don’t know or lack the capability to appreciate and collaborate on what takes us forward the fastest.

“I think the fact that we maxed out attendance for this Conference before we even closed RSVPs also shows we’re not the only ones who think getting together to discuss these issues is important.”

Haden also added that the UKGC will be publishing ‘some reflections’ on the conference as well once it has concluded.

Over the past two years, the UKGC has scheduled consultations with stakeholders from the gambling industry and other sectors to inform its policies and practices, as the UK itself has undergone a review of the Gambling Act to improve the country’s betting and gaming structure.

Topics covered in these consultations include licensing, compliance, and enforcement policy procedures; penalties for regulatory breaches and operator accountability; and the application of the GAMSTOP self-exclusion scheme.