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Exploring gambler attitudes towards Financial Vulnerability and Financial Risk Check proposals

The Gambling Commission’s report on the attitudes and opinions of online gamblers regarding the proposals for financial vulnerability and financial risk checks.

  1. Contents
  2. Research approach

Research approach

Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used to explore the views of online gamblers, beginning with a qualitative phase where fieldwork was conducted between 16 and 22 August 2023, followed by a quantitative survey where data was collected between 9 and 14 November 2023.

Overarching principles of approach

Yonder were concerned that the volume of specialist media coverage that the Financial Risk Assessment consultation had commanded might bias response from some types of respondents, so determined that a ‘deliberative’ approach would be most suited to engage gamblers’ decision-making in a meaningful way.

Deliberative research is an approach where people consider relevant facts from multiple points of view, converse with one another to think critically about options presented, before coming to a series of collective or individual judgements.

Accordingly, Yonder developed research materials for each of the proposals (which included a clear definition of net loss thresholds, what the checks would involve and potential outcomes delivered by gambling companies from the consultation proposals) to share with online gamblers to ensure that complexity and preconception were not a barrier to eliciting informed views.

These ‘deliberative’ research materials were shared with gamblers via a slide-based presentation including but not limited to the purpose of the proposals, the detail of the proposals themselves including proposed net loss thresholds, check type, data use and validity period, and potential outcomes of checks.

For the quantitative phase the Gambling Commission created a series of short, informational videos, providing core information on the background to the checks, the types of check that were being proposed, and the types of gambler they were designed to protect. 3 videos in total were shown to respondents at various points throughout the survey. These were intended to ensure respondents’ answers were well informed.

Yonder conducted the qualitative phase first, to identify and address any challenges that gamblers had in understanding the complex nature of the proposals ahead of the quantitative survey (where miscomprehension could not be overcome by researcher and/or moderator assistance). For the purposes of reporting, the narrative has been structured to reference quantitative data first, followed by qualitative insight, to allow for deeper insight gathered in the qualitative phase to provide context to the headline quantitative figures.

Qualitative phase

A combination of 4 online focus groups (2 held in person, and 2 carried out online) and 4 online depth interviews (a total of 28 participants) were conducted with a cross-section of gamblers: younger gamblers (18 to 25 years old), financially vulnerable gamblers (defined by low income or those in receipt of benefits), gamblers with a £100 to £250 monthly deposit level, and gamblers with a £250 or more monthly deposit level.

Yonder also conducted depth interviews with higher spend gamblers making £500 or more in monthly deposits and experiencing a £500 or more single occasion net loss within the past 12 months. A spread of age, location (NB: representation throughout UK but location was skewed to Birmingham and London due to the location of the 2 face to face focus groups), demographics, and gambling activities were integrated into the qualitative sample frame.

Quantitative phase

Yonder conducted an ad hoc online survey with a sample of 1,000 online gamblers who had gambled at least once in the last 12 months, excluding those who had only gambled in-person, or only on any combination of specific activities (National Lottery, scratchcards, instant wins or ‘any other gambling’).

Respondents were recruited to be representative of the target population, using a quota-based sampling approach. Quotas were placed on 4 key demographics: age, gender, UK region, and social grade, to match the incidence of those gamblers who fit the specific criteria as occurring in the general population, and were taken from the nationally representative ‘Cost of Living’ survey. Weights were applied to the data after fieldwork (matching the quotas) to correct any imbalance that occurred due to sampling.

Limitations of this research

While Yonder took care to ensure the robustness of findings through research design, there were a number of limitations inherent to both the quantitative and qualitative phases which should be considered when reading this report.

Qualitative and Quantitative

Reported attitudes and/or behaviours: since the proposals are currently under consultation, the infrastructure was not in place to test respondents’ reactions to elements of the proposals in practice. As such, results relied on respondents’ remembered and/or claimed behaviours, and/or reactions to hypothetical scenarios, which should be considered when interpreting results. Further research conducted in a live environment is recommended to gain a deeper understanding of respondents’ reactions to the proposals.


Sampling: qualitative sample sizes are by their very nature small, so conclusions can only be directional, unless contextualised by quantitative data (as in this instance). For example, whilst Yonder took care to target heavier deposit and net loss gamblers, ‘professional gamblers’ were not explicitly targeted.

General limitations of qualitative research: given small sample sizes qualitative research heavily relies on the skills and experience of researchers, introducing potential researcher bias although this is mitigated by employing a grounded theory approach, where excel grids are used to capture qualitative data and notes and where narratives are developed through rigorous analysis of this data.


Length of survey: 15 minutes was chosen to limit respondent fatigue but resulted in inherent limitations on the amount of information provided to, and questions asked of, gamblers about the proposals. To maximise engagement and efficiency, video stimuli were used to provide overviews of the proposals, but these were reliant on gamblers’ comprehension and the amount of information they were able to absorb in the timeframe.

General limitations of quantitative research: results provide a snapshot of attitudes and opinions but provide little insight into why respondents feel the way they do, and the specific drivers behind responses. Research design included a qualitative element to allow deeper insight into the ‘why’ behind respondents’ responses. Respondents tend to be provided with pre-coded lists of responses which may not have captured the full range of responses that exist. To mitigate against this, open-ended responses were included to allow respondents to provide more detail on the reasons for their responses.

A note on reporting: for the purpose of consistency in reporting, the term ‘respondents’ has henceforth been replaced with ‘gamblers’.

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Introduction - Gambler attitudes towards Financial Vulnerability and Financial Risk Check proposals
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Summary of findings - Gambler attitudes towards Financial Vulnerability and Financial Risk Check proposals
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