As part of a push towards modernizing the way it collects important consumer data the Gambling Commission has released the results of an experimental survey into the habits of punters across the United Kingdom.
The regulator stated the new ‘push-to-web’ exercise was conducted so as to improve the ways in which it accumulates information on adult gambling participation alongside the potential numbers of those who may be experiencing ‘difficulties or harms through their gambling’.
The Gambling Commission conducted a fresh web-based investigation in partnership with the National Centre for Social Research by gathering responses from some 4,000 punters between April and May. The regulator declared this new way of collecting information is more cost-effective than its more traditional telephone surveys and could eventually allow it to collect ‘more detailed analysis’ from ‘increased numbers of people’.
To make sure the experimental exercise was as thorough as possible, the Gambling Commission moreover invited stakeholder contributions and as a result received feedback from over 130 respondents including via workshops and engagement panels tied to a 2020 consultation.
The Head of Statistics for the Gambling Commission, Helen Bryce, revealed the examination found half of the respondents had gambled in the four weeks prior to being surveyed with 61% having enjoyed some form of gambling within the past year. In this first coterie, the exercise furthermore showed that men were more likely to have gambled than women at a rate of 52.6% to 47.3%.
In addition, the experimental survey revealed those between the ages of 45 and 54 had been the most apt to have gambled at 61.6% while their counterparts aged 75 and beyond were the least liable at 39.6%.
“Over the past three years, we have devoted substantial resources in money, people, and time and collaborated with field experts to create the best consumer gambling survey possible,” Bryce said. “We have reached a significant milestone today by publishing the findings from the project’s final experimental stage.”
The examination correspondingly crowned the National Lottery as the most popular form of British gambling for the four-week period at 31.8% with online sales having outpaced physical purchases by 25% to 17.9%. The survey went on to discover that15% of the respondents had participated in a charity lottery while 13% had purchased a National Lottery scratchcard.
These amusements had been followed by online sports betting at 11.6% and in-person sports wagering at 5.1% with online casino participation sitting at 2.4% before land-based casino at 1.5%.
Regarding motivation, the survey declared that ‘most gamblers took part in gambling for monetary reasons’ such as the chance to win a cash prize or for ‘enjoyment reasons’. The exercise also saw 44% of respondents give their last gambling experience a score of at least six on the ten-point Problem Gambling Severity Index while 37% opted for the more neutral mark of five with 2.5% going for eight or above.
The Gambling Commission has sought to allay concerns this new way of collecting information may well appeal more to regular gamblers than non-gamblers by commissioning Professor Patrick Sturgis from the London School of Economics to undertake an independent appraisal into the revised methodology. Critics have moreover suggested the web-based exercise has a lower response rate than the regulator’s existing face-to-face method and depends on participants' understanding of the questions.
In response, Bryce asserted her organization needs ‘to establish a new baseline to track future changes in gambling behaviour in Great Britain’ and intends to utilize larger sample sizes for future surveys. She moreover described the changes in methodology as ‘challenging but crucial’ in ensuring the regulator’s information remains ‘relevant and robust’.
“With the extensive development and testing of our new methodology and the projected annual response of around 20,000 participants, we are committed to ensuring that our approach is as pertinent and sound as possible,” Bryce said. “We will publish his findings and recommendations early next year before the methodology becomes our official statistics in 2024.”
Alan Campbell has been reporting on the global gambling industry ever since graduating from university in the late-1990s with degrees in journalism, English and history. Now headquartered in the northern English city of Sheffield, he has written on a plethora of topics, companies, regulatory developments and technological innovations for a large number of traditional and digital publications from around the planet.Read Full Bio