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2022 Young People and Gambling Report – survey improvements explained

Since 2011, we have undertaken the Young People and Gambling Survey, a study of 11 to 16 year olds across Great Britain.

Posted 27 October 2022 by Communications

The study is important because it helps us to understand exposure to, and involvement in, gambling amongst children and young people. We use the results to help protect them from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

On 10 November, we will publish the 2022 report. The numbers and presentation of those will look a little different and not comparable to our previous releases, so here in our latest blog we explain what has changed and why.

Challenges we have previously faced

Gambling is a tricky subject to research, especially amongst 11 to 16 year olds whose understanding of what is and isn’t gambling, and experience of gambling, varies widely. When designing this study, we have to make sure our questions are understood and that pupils feel confident to complete it as part of their lesson at school. We also cover some sensitive topics in the survey, including questions which are used to identify young people who may be experiencing difficulties with their gambling. We use the responses from these questions to identify problem gambling rates amongst this age group. It is worth remembering that the questions we ask to children and young people about problem gambling are different to those we ask to adults and therefore results are not comparable.

Continuous improvement of statistics

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closures in 2020 and 2021 meant that the Young People and Gambling survey couldn’t go ahead as usual. However, this provided us with a great opportunity to reflect on the way we carry out our research with young people and to put in place improvements for the future. The development work we carried out made a number of recommendations to change the questionnaire where responses indicated that questions were not well understood or were at the risk of becoming outdated. View the full details of the work conducted in 2021.

During this enforced hiatus we also spent time uploading the 2011 to 2019 (inclusive) datasets from the Young People and Gambling Survey to the UK Data Archive so they are available for further analysis by other parties such as academia. We’ll continue to add to this each time we publish new data from the survey. As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we also had the 2019 Young People and Gambling report peer reviewed by the Government Statistical Service (GSS), with feedback being taken on board in the 2022 report.

The changes we have made for 2022

The survey development work undertaken means that the 2022 report will look a little different to previous versions. The main changes are summarised as follows:

  • the report will make a distinction between active involvement in gambling (activities young people have spent their own money on) and a wider experience of gambling (for example, picking lottery numbers for parents)

  • the report will draw comparisons between active involvement in regulated forms of gambling and unregulated forms of gambling

  • for ease of reading and consistency across questions the report will focus only on gambling activities that young people have experienced or been actively involved with in the past 12 months. Data for other timeframes (past 7 days, past 4 weeks) will be available in accompanying data tables and for your own analysis via the UK Data Archive

  • only those who are actively involved in gambling will answer the questions in the youth adapted problem gambling screener (DSM-IV-MR-J) to ensure that problem gambling estimates are based on those young people who have spent their own money on gambling

  • the report will include a broader focus on the impact of gambling on young people both as a result of their own gambling but also to understand the impact that family members who gamble may have on young people. We’ll be continuing to develop our use of this data to build a fuller understanding, particularly the extent and severity of gambling related harms they may experience

  • given the changes that have been made, the report will include data for 2022 only and will form a benchmark against which future waves of research can be measured. Findings will not be directly comparable with previous releases.

The new figures which we will publish on 10 November 2022 will be a more accurate representation of gambling behaviours among young people in Great Britain.

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