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Statistics and research release

Exploring the information needs of gambling consumers (2019 research)

Research from 2019 exploring consumer attitudes towards and experiences of receiving information from gambling businesses.


This release contains findings from research conducted in 2019 exploring consumer attitudes towards and experiences of receiving information from gambling companies.

The research provides the consumer perspective on information currently provided to gamblers at each stage of their gambling journey and looks into how this varies across different types of gambler, and how provision of information could be improved.

About our consumer voice research

We use a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to gather views, opinions, and insights from gambling consumers. This work complements our nationally representative statistics on gambling participation and the prevalence of problem gambling but goes into more depth on key issues and emerging areas of interest.

Our Consumer Voice research is currently conducted by 2CV, who use a combination of online surveys and online community panels to tap into the voice of the gambling consumer and those affected by gambling in Great Britain.

The fieldwork for this research was completed in 2019. Since then, there has been various policy changes across a variety of areas. For example, government introduced changes to Fixed Odds Betting Terminal (FOBT) stakes (opens in a new tab), which took effect from 1 April 2019. The Gambling Commission has made updates to the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) which now prohibits excessive ID requirements for withdrawals or unclear wagering requirements in offers. We also introduced a ban on gambling with credit cards.

Key facts

The results show that:

  • most gamblers don’t believe they need further information at the point of play. This is because players are focused on obtaining the information they need to have to play or bet
  • information related to the game or bet, or account information is the most likely to be recalled by consumers
  • gamblers claim that a trustworthy reputation is central to how they choose a gambling business
  • the biggest group in need of enhanced or more targeted information is the low gambling literacy group
  • for this group, information about managing their gambling, for example on setting deposit limits, is considered more important compared with other groups in the Gambling Literacy Score (GLS) in terms of influencing which brand they gamble with
  • there is an opportunity to focus on delivering information around specific targeted actions, for example setting timeouts or deposit limits, at the right time and in the right place.


Introduction and approach

In 2019, the Commission commissioned 2CV to undertake this piece of research. It involved both qualitative and quantitative methods, including an online survey of 1,027 people age 18 plus who had gambled in the last four weeks.

Nationally representative quotas were applied on age, gender, and region to ensure a representative spread of gamblers in the sample, and lottery players were capped so that it was possible to robustly explore a mix of gambling activities and channels. This was followed by a series of focus groups with 30 people in London and Birmingham, to further explore their experience of information available when gambling and their priorities. The groups were made up of people with a range of gambling literacy scores.

Gambling Literacy Score (GLS)

To provide a different perspective we took the opportunity in this research to use the GLS. This is part of the Positive Play Scale model1, which was developed in Canada to measure levels of positive gambling related beliefs and behaviours. The GLS score assesses the extent to which a player has an accurate understanding about the nature of gambling. The scale is broken into three categories:

  • high GLS
  • medium GLS
  • low GLS.

Details of how the three categories are scored can be found in the research as follows.

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed (on a 7-point Likert scale) with the following three statements:

  • gambling is not a good way to make money
  • my chances of winning get better after I have lost
  • if I gamble more often, it will help me to win more than I lose.

In the quantitative stage of the research, different types of information were grouped into four categories:

Gameplay – information about what consumers gamble on

This type of information included:

  • odds of winning
  • prize available
  • price and/or minimum stake
  • game rules
  • terms and conditions.

Transparency – information about the brand or company that consumers gamble with

This type of information included:

  • reputation for being trustworthy
  • confirmation of Commission licence
  • how protected any funds you deposit are
  • how money is used for good causes
  • action taken against the business
  • how to make a complaint.

Account info – information about consumers’ accounts

This type of information included:

  • how to withdraw money
  • information about the state of your account
  • free bets and bonus offers
  • terms of use for account
  • ID verification requirements.

Managing gambling – information about options to manage or control how consumers gamble

This type of information included:

  • how to set deposit limits
  • how to set 'reality checks'
  • getting help to control gambling or spotting a problem
  • how to set time-outs
  • how to exclude yourself.

Important factors when choosing where to gamble

When choosing which gambling business to use, a trustworthy reputation was the most important factor for consumers, but information on gameplay is the most important category. Familiarity with a preferred business, ease of play or the usability to play, and a low desire to switch to new businesses also influenced players’ decisions. There were only a minority of participants who actively engaged with multiple gambling businesses, most lacked trust in themselves and felt that having multiple accounts could lead them to gambling more than they would like.

Information types recalled from a recent gambling experience

When participants considered their last gambling experience, information on game play was the most recalled category (42 percent), followed by account information (32 percent), managing gambling (20 percent) and transparency (17 percent).

Trust and transparency

The research analysed the gap between the factors that people said were important to them, and the information that they actually recalled seeing.

The largest gaps identified were in the transparency information category, with the largest being for information around trustworthiness, followed by how money is used for good causes (lottery focused), and how protected players fund are. However, most gamblers do not feel that they need further information despite these gaps.

For example, whilst 76 percent of the participants said it was important for the gambling companies, they use to be trustworthy, only 20 percent recall seeing information that indicates that the brand is trustworthy. This potentially presents a gap that could be filled, however only 12 percent of respondents felt that they needed additional information, which shows that most gamblers don’t know or acknowledge that this exists. There is an opportunity to address this unmet need within communications activities.

Low gambling literacy score players

Low gambling literacy players recognise a greater need for information provision, particularly given their heavier play. They are more likely to find information around managing gambling important than other players, and whilst recall of this information is higher for Low GLS gamblers there are still opportunities to improve the quality of information provided.

For this group information needs to be relevant and focused on specifics and could provide greater contextual information such as reminders of past behaviour or comparisons to other gamblers.

Since this research, there has been more targeted messaging and advertising of safer gambling messaging, tools, and controls. This research highlights that those in the low GLS group are receptive and understand safer gambling messaging and tools but timing and placement of the messaging and/or tools is important.


1 Wood, Wohl & Tabri, 2018.

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