UKGC to publish initial statistics by Feb. end

Independent review endorses push-to-web methodology for UKGC's gambling survey

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An independent review has praised the push-to-web approach of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) in its Gambling Survey for Great Britain (GSGB), describing it as "exemplary in all respects," and adding that it "will yield high-quality estimates of gambling prevalence in Great Britain."

Professor Patrick Sturgis of the London School of Economics evaluated the GSGB's methodological approach against its stated objectives. The endorsement marks a significant milestone in the ongoing development of the survey, as it moves toward the publication of official statistics from Wave 1 at the end of February.

Sturgis, who was commissioned for the review by UKGC last November, assessed the GSGB methodological approach against current best practice, analyzed the likely impact of the approach on estimates of gambling participation and prevalence of gambling harms, and made seven recommendations for improvement. 

Professor Sturgis said: “The Gambling Commission has engaged with a broad range of stakeholders and followed industry standards of best practice in developing a survey design that can be expected to yield high quality and timely estimates of gambling prevalence in Great Britain."

“Following the launch of the GSGB, there are some key recommendations for the Commission to consider to ensure the quality and robustness of the statistics continues to build stakeholder and public confidence.”

Sturgis provided seven recommendations for addressing unresolved issues identified in the review of the GSGB methodology. These include conducting research to better understand the relationship between survey topics and gamblers' response rates, as well as investigating the role of socially desirable responding in differences between in-person and self-completion surveys. 

Additionally, Sturgis suggested a randomized experiment to assess the impact of updated gambling activity lists on prevalence and harm estimates, and an evaluation of potential bias in questions exclusive to online respondents. Furthermore, he proposed monitoring best practices in household selection for push-to-web surveys, researching gambling prevalence and harm among groups excluded from the GSGB sampling frame, and seeking opportunities to benchmark GSGB estimates against face-to-face interview surveys in the future.

Tim Miller, Executive Director of Research and Policy at the Gambling Commission, said: “We are delighted that Professor Sturgis’s report concludes that the Gambling Commission has followed best practice in developing the GSGB survey. We are clear that better evidence, driven by better data will lead to better regulation, which in turn will lead to better outcomes.

"We welcome the recommendations in the report to continue to understand the impact of the changes made to both the survey design and the methodology as we move forward with the launch. We recognize that all methodologies need to continue to evolve and improve over time and this independent report helps to highlight some initial areas of focus once our new approach has gone live.”

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