UKGC Cautions Gambling Firms Against Misusing Gambling Data August 15, 2023 Mike Ashley

UKGC Cautions Gambling Firms Against Misusing Gambling Data

UK Gambling CommissionSummary:

  • The UKGC’s Andrew Rhodes said some groups have been using gambling data inaccurately to support their argument
  • The most common misuse relates to the 0.3% problem gambling rate in Great Britain
  • Operators giving out misleading information must fix their mistake or face consequences

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has raised concerns over the misuse of gambling figures by several groups as debate on the issue continues following the publication of the Gambling Act Review White Paper.

In an open letter published on the Commission’s website, UKGC CEO Andrew Rhodes stated that it’s unacceptable for any party to incorrectly use evidence and statistics surrounding gambling just to support their argument and further an agenda.

Certain Groups Presenting Misleading Info on Problem Gambling Rate

While Rhodes did not drop names, his message applies to all gambling operators, charities, trade organizations, sporting venue owners, media outlets, and other entities who he said have been presenting inaccurate and misleading data, especially on the rate of problem gambling in Great Britain.

Various groups have been citing figures from the latest UKGC survey which shows that the problem gambling rate across Great Britain, as measured by the short form Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), is at 0.3%. According to Rhodes, they have seen a repeated misuse of this data, with some groups suggesting that this percentage is only of those who gamble, when it is actually of the entire adult population in Great Britain.

Certain parties have also tried to conflate problem gambling and gambling-related harm by arguing that the 0.3% figure accounts for those “at risk” of gambling harm. Rhodes pointed out that while they are associated to one another, problem gambling and gambling-related harm are two separate experiences and therefore should not be mixed up.

The UKGC boss cited data from the Health Survey for England 2021 which indicated that of those who gambled in the last 12 months, 1.2% were classified as being at a moderate risk of gambling harm, while 4% were classed as low-risk.

Another example of gambling data being used incorrectly is presenting the idea that certain types of gambling are “less risky” and should have a lower problem gambling rate than the overall figure. This is misleading, according to Rhodes, with problem gambling rates varying by activity from 0.9% (National Lottery) to 2.8% (horse racing betting) and 8.5% (online gambling).

UKGC Reserves Right to Publicly Challenge Misuse of Data

Rhodes reminded all groups to ensure they use gambling statistics and evidence in the proper context. Those who use the data inaccurately will be asked to correct their statements. If the party in question fails to do so, the UKGC will refer the matter to the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR). The Commission may also challenge the misuse of figures by any entity if they refuse to fix their record.

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