November 7, 2023 3 min read


Study Confirms PGSI’s Effectiveness in Gambling Harm Evaluation

Leading UK charity GambleAware noted that these findings would aid its strategy and hopefully lead to long-term problem gambling detection and treatment improvements

GambleAware expressed reassurance following an independent study examining the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) scale. While the method has some limitations, it remains a valuable tool for estimating the potential risk of problem gambling among large groups. GambleAware retains its crucial role in the UK gambling industry as the country finalizes consultations on its White Paper.

The Data Highlights PGSI’s Most Effective Uses

The PGSI is a set of nine questions designed to assess gambling behavior and estimate the extent of gambling problems. While this method can effectively determine the scale of gambling issues, it was not originally developed as a clinical tool, causing ongoing debates regarding its effectiveness. To address this concern, GambleAware commissioned Ipsos UK to conduct an independent study.

The recently announced results, based on a dataset of over 21,000 people from the 2020 and 2021 Annual GB Treatment and Support Survey, revealed that the PGSI scale remains an effective tool for estimating the potential risk of gambling harm. Key findings include a strong and consistent connection between higher PGSI scores and increased rates of psychological distress. 

The scale can also be a valuable tool for integrating mental health interventions when treating individuals with high PGSI scores. According to the report, the standard nine-question test version should be used whenever possible, as it provides the most accurate results and can lead to effective and timely treatment.

Organizations Can Leverage This Information to Improve Their Services

GambleAware director of evidence and insights Haroon Chowdry was relieved that the PGSI scale proved its effectiveness in identifying different levels of harm. He noted that implementing improved use cases for the method could help evaluate problem gambling at the individual and population levels. Chowdry noted that collaboration remained paramount for effective treatment and urged other interested parties to use these recent findings.

We hope treatment services, clinicians, and policymakers will… make the best use of this scale to help those experiencing gambling harms.

Haroon Chowdry, GambleAware director of evidence and insights

According to Ipsos UK Research Director Steven Ginnis, the PGSI worked best along with other tools and methods to form a comprehensive diagnostic for individuals. He noted that not all people within the PGSI classification faced the same potential risks and urged organizations and charities to rely on it primarily for evaluating large groups.

These recent findings highlight GambleAware’s ongoing efforts to protect the UK populace from the dangers of gambling harm. The charity has achieved significant success in the past few years, collaborating with the government to mitigate the industry’s negative impact. Its dedication and valuable feedback will remain instrumental in shaping the UK gambling landscape.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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