January 22, 2024 2 min read


ESRI Defends Problem Gambling Survey Results amid Industry Skepticism

Professor Lunn mentioned that the anonymity of the latest survey made people more likely to admit how much they gamble

Flutter Entertainment’s chief executive officer, Peter Jackson, recently expressed skepticism about the problem gambling rates identified by Ireland’s Gambling Regulatory Authority. However, Pete Lunn, a professor from the Economic and Social Research Institute’s Behavioral Research Unit, said that Flutter is still basing its understanding on old data.

For reference, a recent study commissioned by Ireland’s new gambling regulator says that problem gambling affects 1 in 30 adults in the country. Jackson responded to these findings, expressing his disbelief at the figure.

He cited an NHS survey, which found that 1 in 250 adults are suffering from problem gambling, saying that his team believes the latter figure to be the correct one. Jackson also pointed out that this figure also corresponds to the problem gambling rates the company has seen in the United Kingdom.

Finally, Jackson said that the Gambling Regulatory Authority and the ESRI, which compiled the report, are saying that gambling is a bigger problem than it actually is. According to Flutter’s CEO, both real-life experience and independent research suggest that gambling problem is not such a big societal problem.

Lunn Says Flutter Is Trusting Outdated Data

However, Pete Lunn said that Flutter’s claim is based on outdated information. Lunn pointed out that the UK survey is old and that the UKGC’s latest estimates actually show a much higher problem gambling rate.

In an interview with the Business Post, Lunn said that he stands by the figure described in ESRI’s research. He also mentioned that the anonymity of the latest surveys made people more likely to admit how much they gamble.

Our conclusion, as independent researchers, is that the higher figures are more likely to reflect reality, because the survey methods used gave people anonymity. When responses are anonymous, people are more willing to admit how much they gamble.

Pete Lunn, professor , ESRI

In the meantime, Ireland’s ongoing gambling reforms continue to be a point of contention. Recently, James Browne, the Irish minister tasked with revamping the industry, slammed the industry’s “scaremongering efforts” and the wrongful claims that people would face penalties for posting about their bets on social media.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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