UKGC gambling participation survey moves into final testing phase

UK Gambling Commission
Image: Ralf Liebhold/Shutterstock

The UK Gambling Commission has provided an update on the progress of its statistics, research and data collection for its ‘Gambling participation and the prevalence of problem gambling’ survey.

Social research agency NatCen and the University of Glasgow were tasked by the UKGC across 2021 and 2022 with testing a new pilot methodology to improve data collection and statistical analysis.

The research agency tested “a new push-to-web methodology, using random probability sampling, to measure gambling participation, gambling harms, experience of problem gambling and a range of other related topics among adults aged 16 and over living in Great Britain”.

After an initial phase last summer, the pilot was launched into a research survey to begin the “experimental phase of the project” of undertaking data collection within live environments.

The UKGC stated during the initial phase: “Subject to the success of the experimental phase the survey will move, in July 2023, to continuous official statistics data collection.”

Providing an update, the UKGC has announced that part of the experimental phase of the project to build on and grow the survey’s research methodology and questionnaire content has been completed by NatCen.

Two data collection experiments undertaken by the social research agency were broken down – Experiment One: ‘Household selection and presentation of harms statements’ and Experiment Two: ‘Construction and presentation of the gambling activity list’.

In experiment one, NatCen examined the best ways to encourage gamblers and non-gamblers to participate in the survey to ensure a representative sample and the optimal approach for how many adults to invite per household.

With the survey questions focusing on assessing gambling-related harms, key recommendations discovered were: 

  • Inviting up to two adults per household
  • Retaining a four-point answer scale for harm-led questions
  • Implementing specific improvements on screening and answer options for harm-related questions.

In experiment two, the research agency analysed the construction and presentation of the gambling activity list and simplified online survey access with the inclusion of QR codes.

Key recommendations from this experiment included:

  • Use the long-list approach for asking about gambling participation.
  • Review and improve routing instructions for the postal version of the questionnaire, focusing on the routing instructions into the Problem Gambling Severity Index screen.
  • Retain QR codes to provide an alternative survey participation pathway.

Regarding the next steps, the survey moves into stage three of the experimental stage, the “final test of the agreed approach”.

Taking place between April and June, NatCen will utilise learnings from experiments one and two to ensure that “survey design and questionnaire content is robust and fit for official statistics continuous data collection”.

The UKGC has also organised additional qualitative follow-up interviews to “explore the experiences of those participants who said they had occasionally experienced gambling-related harms” to understand them in more detail and explore connections between different harms. 

Further information regarding the UKGC’s ‘Gambling participation and the prevalence of problem gambling’ survey can be found here.