UKGC: Independent review endorses push-to-web GSGB methodology

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An independent review has endorsed the push-to-web methodology within the UK Gambling Commission’s Gambling Survey for Great Britain.

Conducting the review was Professor Patrick Sturgis of the London School of Economics, who described the GSGB developments as being “exemplary in all respects”, and that the move to push-to-web will bring “a number of important benefits”.

In November last year, the UKGC commissioned Sturgis for the review after expressing confidence that the push-to-web GSGB methodology would be “relevant and robust” and help produce “better data”.

The review’s purpose was to analyse the push-to-web approach against best practices considering the context of current survey approaches, explore the approach’s likely impact on estimates of gambling participation and prevalence of gambling harms, as well as provide improvement recommendations.

Sturgis commented: “The Gambling Commission has engaged with a broad range of stakeholders and followed industry standards of best practice in developing a survey design that can be expected to yield high quality and timely estimates of gambling prevalence in Great Britain.

“Following the launch of the GSGB, there are some key recommendations for the commission to consider to ensure the quality and robustness of the statistics continues to build stakeholder and public confidence.”

Sturgis provided seven recommendations for how the UKGC can address unresolved issues following his review of the GSGB methodology, including: 

  • Research to better understand the relationship between survey topic and the propensity of gamblers to respond to survey invitations.
  • Research to understand the role of socially desirable responding as the driver of the difference in gambling estimates between in-person and self-completion surveys.
  • Randomised experiment to evaluate the effect of the updated list of gambling activities on estimates of gambling prevalence and harm. 
  • Assess the extent of potential bias in the subset of questions administered to online respondents only.
  • Monitor best practice developments in the area of within household selection of adults in push-to-web surveys.
  • Research on the prevalence of gambling and gambling harm in groups that are excluded from the GSGB because they are not included in the sampling frame.  
  • Seek opportunities to benchmark the estimates from the GSGB against a contemporaneous face-to-face interview survey in the future.

The UKGC noted that GSGB official statistics from Wave 1 are expected to be published at the end of February.

“We are delighted that Professor Sturgis’s report concludes that the Gambling Commission have followed best practice in developing the GSGB survey,” added Tim Miller, Executive Director of Research and Policy at the UKGC.

“We are clear that better evidence, driven by better data will lead to better regulation, which in turn will lead to better outcomes. We welcome the recommendations in the report to continue to understand the impact of the changes made to both the survey design and the methodology as we move forward with the launch. 

“We recognise that all methodologies need to continue to evolve and improve over time and this independent report helps to highlight some initial areas of focus once our new approach has gone live.”

Earlier this month during his speech at ICE London 2024, UKGC Chief Executive Andrew Rhodes highlighted the challenge of finding the right balance for the industry as it navigates the Gambling Act Review.