Cookies on the Gambling Commission website

The Gambling Commission website uses cookies to make the site work better for you. Some of these cookies are essential to how the site functions and others are optional. Optional cookies help us remember your settings, measure your use of the site and personalise how we communicate with you. Any data collected is anonymised and we do not set optional cookies unless you consent.

Set cookie preferences

You've accepted all cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time.

Skip to main content

Consultation response

Participation and prevalence research

From December 2020 to February 2021 we consulted on the proposals to change how we collect adult gambling participation and problem gambling prevalence statistics.

Proposal 3: Participation questions


Different participation questions on different surveys generate multiple figures.


Via a single preferred methodology to gather more granular data on gambling participation and frequency. Also, to review and refresh the list of gambling activities included in the survey so that it better reflects the current diversity of gambling products and better facilitates analysis of problem gambling prevalence at a product level.

Consultation questions

  • Q9. Do you agree with this proposal?
  • Q10. What other factors that should be considered in developing participation questions and data to meet the needs of users?

Respondents’ views

This proposal received the highest level of overall agreement from respondents and the highest number of respondents who ‘strongly agreed’ with the proposal. 46 out of 62 respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that the participation questions should be refreshed (20 respondents strongly agreed and 26 agreed). All respondents from the charity/not for profit sector, those representing gambling operators and those from trade associations agreed with the proposal, six out of seven respondents from academia agreed with the proposal.

The opportunity to update the list of gambling activities to reflect current gambling behaviour was the main reason for agreeing with this proposal and it was felt that this would provide more credibility to the findings. One respondent stated that the benefit of updating the list of activities would outweigh the loss of losing trend series data. One operator would like to see operators involved in developing a current list of gambling activities.

One respondent with a research background who was in favour of refreshing the list of activities said that for net participation in an activity such as gambling to be accurate, it should be based on participation in individual activities which are current and relevant now rather than being based on participation in activities which have become outdated or irrelevant.

Whilst the idea of being able to expand the list of gambling activities and improve the granularity of the data was appealing to respondents, there was an acknowledgement that this would need to be balanced with survey length.

Finally, another respondent reiterated the importance of our commitment outlined in the consultation document to produce statistics in accordance with the standards set out by the Government Statistical Service in the Code of Practice for Statistics around Trustworthiness, Quality and Value. They encouraged the Commission to engage with stakeholders including the UK Statistics Authority on the development of a new survey approach.

26 respondents said there are other factors that need to be considered when developing participation questions and data to meet the needs of users. One of these factors was the requirement for cognitive testing of the questions and another was the development of an advisory group who could advise on the development of the questionnaire to include representatives from academia, industry and people with lived experience.

Specific topics or question areas that respondents thought should be included in a new survey were gambling related harms, affordability, expenditure, consumer benefits of gambling, online gaming (and the overlap with gambling) and also people’s understanding of the risks associated with gambling. Another respondent from the charity sector also thought a review of problem gambling screens, namely the PGSI and DSM-IV, should be undertaken to make sure they are still the most effective way of measuring problem gambling.

Our position

Based on the positive feedback about this proposal we will review and refresh the gambling activities included in the survey to better reflect the current repertoire of gambling.

We will set up a working group with representatives from external stakeholders to advise on questionnaire design and specifically a refreshed set of gambling activities to help measure gambling participation. The requirement to establish a working group will be included as part of the specification when we are looking for a research partner to support us with the pilot.

Cognitive testing of any new questions will be included as part of the pilot.

Whilst the specific means of measuring harms via survey questions is not in scope within this consultation, it is intended that the current pilot of harms questions which is taking place outside of this consultation will result in a set of questions which can be added to our core survey(s) in the future to measure the extent to which gambling related harms are experienced by gamblers and affected others. We see the harms questions being run alongside existing screens to measure problem gambling (PGSI and DSM-IV).

As part of our review leading up to the consultation we have engaged with the ONS, DCMS, research experts and our Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG). We also reached out to other organisations which produce official or National statistics. Our statistics are subject to the Code of Practice for Statistics set out by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) and must abide by the principles of trustworthiness, quality and value. Our pre-consultation discussions and the consultation responses have not raised any concerns that the proposals outlined in this document will pose any risk to these principles, and in fact are more likely to strengthen our commitment towards them.

Previous section
Proposal 2: Consolidation of current surveys
Next section
Proposal 4: Frequency and turnaround time
Is this page useful?
Back to top