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Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

ABSG progress report 2020

Other issues

Use of existing data

There are a number of metrics that have been collected through survey methodologies for many years. Although there continues to be debate on whether the term ‘problem gambling/gambler’ and its associated metrics are of value100, we recommend the Commission continues to use these widely used tools as one of a number of measures until other validated metrics emerge to replace them.

The Commission and its partners should continue to replicate these in order to record changes in behaviour, frequency, characteristics, recognising such methodologies depend on self-reported measures that have inherent weaknesses and may not necessarily provide us with the metrics we need to assess impact.

We should, however, review the metrics collected to identify where new forms of data should be included. We should also review what data could be provided from other sources – e.g. data from financial services or social media companies, etc. This will tell us more about real time behaviour – as opposed to behaviour reported through surveys.

There is an imperative to ensure the voice of those with lived experience is included in new ways in any such approach. This is an area where the Experts by Experience Groups will provide an important steer.

The impact of COVID-19 on data and metrics

In any work on data, the impact of COVID-19 on gambling behaviour must be considered. This will have an impact on behaviour recorded in statistics collected this year. For example, participation rates will fall. Use and variety of online products will increase. Figures on average spend will be distorted compared with previous years. It will be important to review the metrics and decide which ones will best inform us on how and where harms have been reduced.

We welcome steps already being taken by the Gambling Commission to understand the impact this will have – for example the COVID-19 tracker to explore initial impact101.


100 Advice on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, RGSB, February 2019

101 Covid-19 and its impact on gambling, what we know so far, Gambling Commission, Updated June 2020

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