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Part A - Expert review of question development by Professor Robert Williams and Dr Rachel Volberg

Overall, Professor Robert Williams and Dr Rachel Volberg found the intent behind the question development to be excellent. They noted the importance of capturing fuller negative impacts of gambling compared with traditional problem gambling approaches4.

They found the process undertaken by the Gambling Commission to be thoughtful and logical. Furthermore, they indicated that draft instruments reviewed were based on a sound definition of gambling-related harm that is consistent with other definitions in the literature, for instance Browne et al. (2018)5, and that the instruments accurately capture the main harms experienced by most people being heavily weighted toward financial, relationship, and mental health harms (Browne et al., 20185; Browne et al, 20216; Shannon et al., 20177). They were also supportive of capturing gambling harms from someone else’s gambling.

They made the following suggestions for improvements.

Although the original list of harms was drawn from Browne et al’s original work, the organising framework to group harms together is that of Wardle et al. They recommended that when the final instrument is published the implications of this should be discussed.

They highlighted that a number of initiatives to measure harms are underway, with the Short Form Gambling Harm Scale (Browne et al., 2018)5 being the most dominant to date. They recommend that the Commission should be clear about how these instruments build on the prior work of Browne et al and be explicit about what the instruments potentially add (greater insights into the severity of harms experienced; measurement of harms to others). They also recommended comparing the correlation of the two instruments.

The instrument does not aspire to be psychometric scale. However, psychometric techniques have been used in development and especially in item reduction. This has produced an instrument that is heavily weighted towards the measurement of financial and/or resource harms. This, while in line with current literature (Langham et al, 2015)8, may also be an artefact of the analytical technique, as factor analysis favours items that are most often endorsed. They recommended reviewing the included items to ensure an equal balance across a range of theoretical domains of harms.

Positive endorsement of some items might not indicate the experience of harms but rather potential experience of harms. This is particularly pertinent to questions which have 'a little' as an answer option – it is unclear whether experiencing each harm a little represents a true negative consequence or not. The recommendation was made to remove this answer option or if it is to be retained, to be clear that this represents the 'potential' for harm, rather than experience of it.

Potentially the ‘harms to self’ questions could only be asked for those who gamble regularly, in order words in the last month, to reduce respondent burden and to minimise the likelihood of false positives.


4 See Appendix A for the questions reviewed

5 Validation of the Short Gambling Harm Screen (SGHS): A Tool for Assessment of Harms from Gambling (opens in a new tab)

6 The Evolution of Gambling-Related Harm Measurement: Lessons from the Last Decade (opens in a new tab)

7 Mapping the proportional distribution of gambling-related harms in a clinical and community sample (opens in a new tab)

8 Understanding gambling related harm: a proposed definition, conceptual framework, and taxonomy of harms (opens in a new tab)

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Developing survey questions capturing gambling-related harms
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Developing gambling-related harms survey questions - Part B - Analysis of pilot data
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