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Participation and Prevalence: Stakeholder engagement report

Adult gambling participation and problem gambling prevalence - making improvements to our statistics

Published: 8 February 2022

Last updated: 24 May 2022

This version was printed or saved on: 20 May 2024

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/about-us/guide/participation-and-prevalence-stakeholder-engagement-report

Overview: ## Pilot phase: Stakeholder engagement report


The Gambling Commission is piloting a new approach for collecting data on gambling participation and the prevalence of problem gambling amongst adults in Great Britain, with the aim of improving the quality of the statistics it relies on for promoting understanding, decision making and evaluating change.

An important part of the pilot project, which started in October 2021, is to draw on the knowledge and expertise of stakeholders to inform the development of the new gambling survey and to generate an ongoing community of users for the official statistics.

This report summarises the findings of the stakeholder engagement work that took place in November and December 2021.


In October 2021 the Gambling Commission appointed NatCen Social Research and the University of Glasgow, in partnership with Bryson Purdon Social Research to undertake a pilot project to test a new methodology for collecting data on adult gambling participation and the prevalence of problem gambling.

As part of the pilot project, stakeholders with a wide array of knowledge, perspectives and priorities on gambling were consulted to gather their ideas and suggestions on the future design and content of the survey.

In November and December 2021, three expert engagement panel groups were held with:

Following these three group sessions, an online consultation survey was developed which was open to a wide range of stakeholders and interested members of the public. In total, 77 respondents completed the questionnaire which asked a range of questions including whether/how they have used gambling survey data in the past and what topics (including emerging areas) they would like to see included in the new survey.


There was widespread agreement amongst survey respondents and Engagement Panel members that they would like the future survey to:

There were more diverse opinions on:


The engagement has brought a wealth of fresh thinking, perspective and advice borne out of experience. Our challenge is balance this within the limits of questionnaire space and length and the Gambling Commission’s focus and budget. A number of the findings also have significant implications for future development work needed for this survey.

1. Core priority areas for the survey

A wide range of new topics have been suggested to include in the future survey, but it will not be possible to include them all.

The push to web methodology, currently being trialled means that some data will be collected via an online survey and some via a postal questionnaire - this raises challenges about the consistency of information collected across the two formats.

The questionnaire also needs to be balanced and offer reasons for those who don’t gamble to engage in the survey. Maintaining the broad appeal of the survey is critical to reducing the risk of producing biased estimates of behaviours.

2. Gambling activities

A decision on the level of granularity on gambling behaviours is required. It would be possible to expand the list of gambling activities undertaken to generate more information on mode and location of gambling (i.e. asking about slots played in a bingo hall, in an amusement arcade etc). However, unless overall sample sizes are very large, this may result in sample sizes too small for specific analysis, limiting their usefulness. Therefore, these decisions need to be made alongside consideration of overall sample sizes and analysis needs.

3. Gambling expenditure

There was wide support from survey respondents to collect more detail on how much money people spend on each individual gambling activity however there are methodological issues with capturing this sort of data via surveys. The Commission will need to weigh up these methodological approaches carefully and consider what other methods could capture this insight going forward.

4. Harms questions

There was broad support for the inclusion of questions about gambling harms, both to oneself and to others. The Commission has begun the development of a set of harms questions which will be included in the pilot survey. Further development work will be required to test and validate these questions for inclusion in the future survey.

Next steps

Methods pilot survey

A pilot survey is taking place between January and February 2022 to test and evaluate the proposed method change for data collection. A Pilot (Phase 1) report is due to be published on the Commission’s website and social media platforms in April 2022. Subject to the success of the method change, we will continue to the next phases of the project.

Further questionnaire and study development

Between January and June 2022 questionnaire development work will take place in response to the feedback and findings of this stakeholder engagement report. This will include cognitive testing of specific questionnaire elements in February and March 2022.

Phase 2: Experimental statistics

The new survey is planned to launch in July 2022 with a one- year period of experimental statistics in which we will continue to test new methodology and make survey improvements.

Phase 3: Official statistics

The implementation of the new methodology will commence from July 2023 on a permanent basis and report official statistics.

Further stakeholder engagement panels will be held at appropriate points over the next two years of the project from 2023 to 2025.