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ABSG Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms – Year Two

ABSG - Year two Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

4 - Metrics for measuring harm

One of the key recommendations in ABSG’s first Progress Report was that the Commission should consider establishing a safer gambling league table and key baseline metrics from which to set targets and measure progress. During 2020, the Commission held a series of workshops to develop proposals on metrics. Three strands of work on data and metrics have emerged.

Three strands of work on data and metrics

  • metrics to measure the impact of the National Strategy
  • metrics to measure the performance of the Gambling Commission
  • metrics to promote action from operators.

The outcome of this work is yet to be determined, but metrics to measure the performance of the Commission are due over the coming months as a response to the review of gambling regulation from the Public Accounts Committee.

The Commission is also working on creating greater transparency about the actions being taken by the operators to make gambling safe for consumers and to prevent harm. Some of this work has influenced the emergence of new consultations, for example on customer interaction and affordability checks42. ABSG look forward to reporting on outcomes in its third Report in 2022.

Progress on the metrics to measure the impact of the strategy itself has been slow and is unlikely to be finalised for the third year of the Strategy. Collecting data on gambling harms is challenging. Recent years have seen the publication of two scoping reports that have illustrated the type of data required43 and how it could be obtained44. Action and resources are now required to put the recommendations of these reports into action. The first ABSG Progress Report identified key areas where collection of data should be prioritised (See Annex 1)45. As baselines are established, it will be important for this to be done in a way that allows identification of differences by age, ethnicity, geography and other social-economic factors.

Recommended priority gambling harms

  • gambling-related debt
  • gambling-related homelessness
  • gambling-related loss of employment
  • gambling-related domestic violence
  • gambling-related crimes
  • gambling-related impact on mental health.

One promising area of development in relation to metrics to measure the impact of the National Strategy, has taken place in Scotland. The Scottish Public Health Network convened a round table for members of the Strategic Implementation Group and its wider partners (see Case Study 2). They looked at measurement and metrics with input from experts in the field of gambling harms in the UK.

GambleAware is in the process of establishing a data sharing agreement with Public Health Scotland to facilitate transfer of Data Reporting Framework data to support on this work.


42 Have your say on tougher rules for identifying and tackling gambling harm – including customer affordability, Gambling Commission, November 2020

43 Measuring gambling-related harms – a framework for action (opens in new tab), Wardle et al, Gambling Commission, RGSB, GambleAware, July 2017

44 Measuring gambling-related harms – methodologies and data scoping report (opens in new tab), McDaid et al, London School of Economics, October 2019

45 Annex 1 provides a summary of the ways that data could be collected and key partners who could support this work.

46 Evaluation of the Credit Card Ban for Gambling in Great Britain (opens in new tab), GREO (accessed 13 April 2021)

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Mixed picture of national strategic co-ordination of implementation
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