April 12, 2024 3 min read


UKGC Enhances Understanding of Gambling-Related Harm with New Survey Questions

These updates should help the Commission make improved and informed decisions, ensuring its measures remain relevant in the face of a rapidly evolving industry

Laura Balla, head of research at the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), recently discussed the organization’s efforts to improve understanding of gambling-related harm and vulnerability by developing new questions as part of the Gambling Survey for Great Britain (GSGB). The improvements will build on the success of the previous study, delivering improved data.

Updated Questions Reflect a Refined Strategy

The UKGC’s primary responsibility is to protect children and vulnerable individuals from gambling-related harm by implementing enhanced regulatory requirements. Balla noted that a comprehensive understanding of gambling-related harm, including its manifestations and impacts, was crucial to achieving this goal. The study’s first edition revealed some enlightening information, but the included questions showed room for improvement.

According to Balla, the intention behind developing these new questions was not to create a single measure or scale of gambling harm but rather to gain insight into the diverse experiences and impacts of gambling. The UKGC has made great efforts to develop questions that reliably capture negative impacts and reflect different types of harm.

We need to have a strong understanding of what gambling-related harm is, how and when it manifests, and for whom.

Laura Balla, UKGC head of research

The new questions have undergone rigorous development and testing before being included as core questions in the GSGB. The UKGC plans to publish a full technical report outlining the approach to developing these questions alongside the first release of GSGB data in July. The Commission’s efforts should significantly benefit the UK’s ongoing gambling legislation reform, helping the government make informed decisions.

The UKGC Remains on the Side of Consumers

Historically, the evidence base on the impacts of gambling has relied heavily on screening instruments such as the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). However, recent discourse has highlighted the need to recognize the broader range of harms caused by gambling beyond problem gambling. The UKGC now aims to achieve an improved understanding of the diverse impacts of gambling on individuals, families, communities, and society.

Moving forward, the UKGC will treat more severe issues like bankruptcy and relationship breakdowns separately from other negative consequences. Additionally, the updated survey will explore the relationship between problem gambling as measured by the PGSI and the broader impacts of gambling for the first time, creating a more comprehensive picture of how gambling harm affects society.

This new body of evidence… will present a big step forward in filling evidence gaps around the impacts of gambling.

Laura Balla, UKGC head of research

The UKGC remains committed to articulating the findings sensitively and without stigma, engaging with its Lived Experience Advisory Panel to ensure it can effectively communicate its research. Overall, the new evidence generated through the GSGB represents a significant step forward in understanding the impacts of gambling and will inform the UKGC’s efforts to make gambling safer for all.

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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