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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

7 - Research

ABSG’s advice on the statutory levy recommended that research into gambling should be funded independently of industry. In October 2019, GambleAware gave evidence to the Lords Committee, signalling their intention to withdraw from commissioning research which lay beyond independent evaluations of its work in the delivery of education treatment services.

GambleAware’s Strategy for 2021-26 clarifies this, and signals the intentions to move away from directly collecting and managing datasets, including the Annual Treatment Statistics and the Annual Treatment and Support Survey57. In the absence of specific recommendations from PHE and NICE, this has left a vacuum, as yet unfilled by the Research Councils. The Gambling Act Review may well create an opportunity to ensure that there are also funds available to assist with regulatory changes.

Proposals for a data repository have not progressed. This is a missed opportunity, particularly with the rise in online gambling activity which lends itself to greater scrutiny using predictive analytics where access to large anonymised datasets is possible. Recent research using big data from banking as well as large data sets from operators58 has provided a window into research that could be generated from an anonymised data repository.

ABSG welcomes the Commission’s recent work to re-design its statistical outputs and industry data for maximum effect. There is some way to progress before data warehousing for research purposes becomes viable, but there is a broad consensus that such a repository is essential to progress in identifying interventions to address harm. Agreeing specific areas of responsibility, timelines and outcomes is essential to achieving the results that are needed.


57 GambleAware Organisational Strategy (opens in new tab), 2021-26

58 Exploring online patterns of play: Interim Report (opens in new tab), D.Forrest and I.McHale, NatCen/University of Liverpool/GambleAware, March 2021

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