Consultation on gambling participation and problem gambling prevalence research

Closed 26 Feb 2021

Opened 18 Dec 2020

Feedback updated 27 Jul 2021

We asked

From December 2020 to February 2021, we consulted on proposals to change the research methodology we use to collect adult gambling participation and problem gambling prevalence statistics.

The consultation outlined proposals to improve the quality, robustness and timeliness of our participation and prevalence official statistics. Specifically, the proposals sought to:

  • Develop a single, gold standard population survey for the whole of Great Britain
  • Consolidate current surveys into one population survey
  • Review and refresh the gambling activities included in the participation questions
  • Improve the frequency and turnaround time of the survey data
  • Explore more future proof data collections methods
  • Implement a new methodology from 2022, subject to a satisfactory pilot.

You said

We received 62 responses from individuals, academics, operators, charities and trade associations. Our proposals were well supported, with an average of two-thirds of respondents agreeing with our proposals and only one in five disagreeing.

On this basis, we decided to proceed with our intention to pilot a new methodology approach in 2021/22 and subject to its successful completion, move to implementing a new methodology on a permanent basis from 2022/23. 

We did

We have now issued an invitation to tender via the Research Marketplace to find a suitable supplier to undertake a pilot methodology in 2021/22. We are aiming for the pilot to start in October 2021 and run until March 2022.  

One of the proposals that we consulted on was around the opportunity to review and refresh the gambling activities included in the participation questions in the survey. This was highly supported in the consultation on the basis that stakeholders could feed into the questionnaire design. Therefore, one of the first tasks for the pilot will be a stakeholder engagement phase where we ask for feedback on the gambling activities currently included and how the participation question could be improved.

We will publish an evaluation of the pilot upon its conclusion and make recommendations for next steps. 


In this consultation document, we share our intentions with regard to changing the research methodology we use to collect gambling participation and problem gambling prevalence statistics[1]

We believe that this new approach will set the standard for authoritative research into gambling behaviour. 

As part of our duty under the Gambling Act 2005 to advise the government on gambling in Great Britain and provide an effective regulatory function, we collect gambling participation and problem gambling prevalence data via surveys of adults in Great Britain.  The data are published as official statistics – meaning they are produced in accordance with the standards set out by the Government Statistical Service in the Code of Practice for Statistics.   

The Commission is ambitious about improving the quality, robustness and timeliness of our statistics.  We therefore set out a commitment in our 2020/21 Business Plan to ‘review our approach to measuring participation and prevalence and publish conclusions’.   

We are consulting to ensure all perspectives can be heard before we move to trial a new approach. 

[1] For consistency, we have sought to use the established language used in this area; for example the 2010 British Gambling Prevalence Survey (BGPS) was introduced as a ‘nationally representative survey of participation in gambling and the prevalence of problem gambling in Great Britain’.  Both the BGPS and Health Survey series have consistently distinguished between participation and prevalence, with prevalence specifically being used to describe rates of problem gambling.


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  • Charities
  • Academia
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  • Gambling businesses
  • Test Houses
  • Licensing authorities
  • Local authorities
  • Law enforcement
  • Trade associations


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