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Evidence gaps and priorities 2023 to 2026

Evidence matters. We all make decisions based on how we understand the world around us, what the evidence is telling us. The bigger the decision and the wider it’s impact, the more likely we all are to want more information before we act. Before the big choices, we all want to fill in the gaps in our understanding.

What’s true for us all in our daily lives is just as true for our understanding of gambling.

At the Gambling Commission we are a people focussed and evidence-led regulator. That means we recognise that better data, better research and better evidence will lead to better gambling regulation and better outcomes for consumers who gamble, their communities and the gambling sector itself.

And that’s what makes identifying evidence gaps and priorities for further data and research so important. In the following chapters, you will read about the themes and issues that require the development of further evidence and focus over the next three years if we are to usefully and significantly improve the evidence base for gambling in Great Britain. As you would expect, they all relate to our role as regulator to keep gambling safe, fair and crime free. It builds on the discussions and feedback we received at our very successful conference - Setting the Evidence Agenda - and also draws on what we have learned as we developed our gambling typologies and Path to Play research.

However, I think it’s important also to be clear that this document is not only about the Commission and what we need to do. Similarly, it does not argue that you should only act when the evidence base is completely conclusive. This paper is about highlighting the challenges ahead and asking the questions that need answering. Answering those questions is something we can all play a part in.

We have identified six themes that, whilst we already have evidence and data, we think are a priority to make a concerted effort to strengthen the evidence base. They are:

  • early gambling experiences and gateway products
  • the range and variability of gambling experiences
  • gambling-related harms and vulnerability
  • the impact of operator practices
  • product characteristics and risk
  • illegal gambling and crime.

Each area has key points where we want to know more, each area has clear actions that the Commission can lead on but equally, they each have work for others: researchers, third sector bodies and the gambling sector itself.

We are building on a strong foundation, but with the Gambling Act Review White Paper now published, it’s clear that the next few years give a real opportunity to make decisive progress towards gambling in Great Britain being safer, fairer and crime-free. If we can all play our part in addressing the evidence gaps identified, I know we will have the tools to make the most of that opportunity.

Tim Miller, Executive Director of Research and Policy

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Glossary of terms used in our evidence gaps and priorities
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