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New methodology tested

In order to generate generalisable estimates of gambling participation and experience of gambling problems among the British population, it is important to use random probability sampling methods.

Non-probability methods, such as online panels, tend to have elevated rates of problematic gambling compared with probability methods, with estimates of problem gambling ranging between 2 to 3 percent for the population, compared with around 1 percent from probability methods.

Many national surveys, especially in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, are moving to a push-to-web approach which uses offline contact methods to encourage people to go online and complete a questionnaire.

To minimise non-coverage and selection bias, online surveys are often paired with an alternative completion mode (for example, as for this study, a shorter, more focused, postal questionnaire which enables less technologically literate people and/or those without internet access to take part).

Push-to-web is a cost-effective method of collecting data from a wide number of people. It also allows increased numbers of people to be interviewed at relatively lower cost, something that is important for the analysis of gambling harms. However, this is a different approach to how previous studies of gambling have collected data; the Health Survey for England (HSE) and British Gambling Prevalence Surveys have relied on interviewers personally visiting addresses to conduct interviews and the Gambling Commission’s quarterly survey collects information via telephone survey using Random Digit Dialling (RDD).

The focus of this pilot was to:

  • assess if a push-to-web approach is a viable methodology to measure gambling participation and prevalence of problem gambling
  • assess the likely impact of this methodology upon estimates of gambling behaviour.
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Participation and Prevalence: Pilot methodology review report
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