New participation survey data shows 2.5% of those quizzed scored eight-plus on the Problem Gambling Severity Index
Findings published by the Gambling Commission (GC) have revealed that 2.5% of respondents to a survey conducted by the regulator were at a high risk of gambling-related harm.
The survey, which involved approximately 4,000 people, found that the 2.5%, which equates to roughly 100 respondents, scored eight or higher on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI).
The results indicate that one in 40 people are at a high risk of gambling harm, far higher that the 0.2%, or one in 500, the regulator reported from its latest quarterly telephone survey, although the GC said the stats shouldn’t be compared as its currently making changes to its data collection methods.
In a LinkedIn post, Melanie Ellis, partner of betting and gaming at Northridge Law, described the findings as “alarming” and pointed to how the government’s latest health survey delivered a “very different result” using the same PGSI screen, where only 0.3% of the population scored eight or higher.
She also questioned whether the GC should go back to the drawing board and investigate whether it can have confidence in the new survey approach before taking it forward.
Besides the 2.5% of those surveyed scoring at least eight, the GC found a further 3.5% scored between three and seven, while 8% scored between one and two. The rest either had a PGSI score of zero (47.1%) or were a non-gambler in the past 12 months (38.9%).
Other key findings showed that half of the respondents had gambled in some form in the past four weeks, with 61% engaging in gambling activities over the last year.
The National Lottery was the most popular form of gambling in the UK, with 31.8% of those surveyed having purchased lottery tickets in the past four weeks.
Online sports betting and/or horseracing had a participation rate of 11.6%, while 2.4% played on an online casino website or app in the past month.
Respondents revealed that the main reasons for their gambling were monetary gain and enjoyment.
The survey was conducted between April and May 2023, although GC added the caveat that the findings are different to previous data collections as it is in the process of updating its methods by “refreshing” the questions it asks and changing the focus of the survey to be “solely about gambling”.
This new methodology, according to the GC, will generate more ”relevant” and “robust” official statistics and build a stronger evidence base for regulation moving forward.
This new survey forms a larger part of the Gambling Survey for Great Britain Experimental that the GC has been working on for the past three years.
In a blog post alongside the publication of the results, the GC’s head of statistics, Helen Bryce, detailed the journey the regulator has been on up to this point.
Bryce explained: “The consultation served as the foundation for the Gambling Survey for Great Britain. Over the past three years, we have devoted substantial resources – money, people and time – and collaborated with field experts to create the best consumer gambling survey possible.
“We have reached a significant milestone today by publishing the findings from the project’s final experimental stage.”