August 14, 2023
Gambling is a potentially divisive issue, especially during the preparation of the government white paper, as different people and groups sought to influence, express their views and present their case. .
There is a wide range of opinions on the subject, sometimes wildly different, and sometimes equally strongly supported. In some cases, it can even lead to personal comments and conspiracy theories about what certain groups, organizations, or individuals are supposed to want.
Everyone has the right to argue and argue their point of view, and there is little shortage of that right these days. It would not be appropriate for the Gambling Commission to attempt to referee all points of debate. Your chances of success are very low and it’s not a good use of resources.
But just as everyone has the right to make their case, it is absolutely unacceptable to abuse statistics to support that claim.
The Commission is very concerned about the significant increase in misuse of gambling statistics as different political parties try to make convincing arguments for or against different proposals.
The commission has identified misuse of statistics by gambling operators, trade associations, charities, news outlets, sports venue owners and others. In some cases, the Commission has received (or has been copied from) complaints about the misuse of statistics by another party, and in other cases the complainants themselves have misused statistics to file their complaints. Other researchers have tried to rely on data the authors said were not reliable enough to draw conclusions.
This is unacceptable. All parties wishing to rely on statistics to advance an argument must rely on them in an accurate and correct context.
If official statistics are used incorrectly, the Commission will generally assume that the misuse was accidental and ask the party to correct the record. If the parties do not comply or refuse to do so, we will consider taking the matter to court. Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR)(opens in new tab). what we did recently. The Commission also reserves the right to publicly challenge the misuse of statistics if either party is unable to correct the misrepresentation.
The most common misuse of statistics in recent months concerned the proportion of problem gambling in the UK and the confusion between problem gambling and gambling-related harm.
Gambling problems and gambling-related harm are two separate but related experiences.
The term “problem gambling” means gambling to the extent that it impairs, interferes with, or impairs family, personal, or recreational pursuits. This can be measured with various screening tools. The commission primarily uses the PGSI (Problem Gambling Severity Index).
When we talk about gambling-related harm, we are talking about the negative effects gambling has on the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities and societies. These harms affect people’s resources, relationships and health. It is not only the gambler himself who suffers harm. While there is no single recognized scale to measure gambling-related harm, the commission is developing new research questions that can better understand the issue. These will be included in the forthcoming UK gambling survey, along with the PGSI.
Several individuals and organizations have misused gambling problem statistics to create an inaccurate picture. For example, it is stated that “99.7 percent of gamblers gamble unharmed”, and a variation on this theme is “only 0.3 percent of gamblers gamble harmlessly”. There are also claims that there are This is not true and misrepresents the statistics.
The 0.3 percent figure is usually associated with the Gambling Commission’s short form PGSI screen. This is, as the name suggests, a shortened version of the long PGSI screen. Between March 2019 and March 2023 he experienced a gambling problem ranging from her 0.2 percent of the population aged 16 and over to her 0.6 percent of the population aged 16 and over by this screening turned out to be a person.
This is a percentage of the total adult population in the UK, not just gambling as many are trying to suggest.
data from England Health Survey 2021 (opens in new tab) According to the complete PGSI or DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition), 0.8 percent of people over the age of 16 who have gambled in the past 12 months have a gambling problem. Shows what you’ve been through.
Others argue that the 0.3% figure represents people “at risk” of gambling harm. This is also inaccurate and misleading. First, this conflates gambling problems with gambling-related harm.second, the same England Health Survey 2021 (opens in new tab) 1.2 percent of those who gambled in the last 12 months were classified as medium risk of experiencing problems leading to some negative consequences of gambling, and an additional 4 percent were classified as low risk (gambling gamblers with low levels of addiction). have gambling problems with little or no known adverse effects).
Some argue that gambling rates must be lower than the national situation because certain types of gambling, such as betting on certain sports, are “less risky”. This is also not true and misleading.
When referring to problem gambling statistics by product or activity, you must begin with the problem gambling rate of those who gambled in the past year. According to the UK Health Survey, this rate is 0.8%. (HSE 2021 Gambling Tables – Table 8) (opens in new tab). But this headline statistic itself masks many of the nuances in gambling.
Problematic gambling rates range from 0.9 percent of those who play national lotteries, to 2.8 percent of those who bet on horse races (not online), to 8.5 percent of those who participate in online slot, casino or bingo gambling. I know it depends on the activity. (2018 England Health Survey – Table 16) (opens in new tab). This is why government white papers focus specifically on these high-risk areas. However, it is not only the type of activity in which the consumer participates that is important in determining risk, but of course the number of gambling activities in which the consumer participates. This is because people who participate in more activities are more likely to participate in gambling activities.have a gambling problem (HSE 2021 Gambling Tables – Table 9) (opens in new tab).
A further problem the Commission has observed is that some people try to compare statistics to claim that things have gone in one direction or another. At face value, this is not an unreasonable act. In fact, the Commission publishes trend data from numerous surveys. However, in many cases, comparisons are made when report authors demonstrate that reports cannot be effectively compared due to data collection issues or limitations related to changes in research methodology due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve seen examples.
Anyone attempting to compare datasets is obliged to ensure that the data are used in an appropriate context and not compared where it is not appropriate, especially where the authors have included these caveats in their reports. there is.
What is clear from the statistics is that the overall problem gambling rate is low relative to participation levels, but the picture is more complex when we dig below the surface of these numbers and we should not use the statistics appropriately when discussing them. must be understood and used properly. these issues. Even if the percentage of people experiencing problem gambling is relatively low, this can have devastating consequences and it does have an impact, with hundreds of thousands directly affected and many more. It should be remembered that people in the world influence their friends, family and others.
Debates over gambling are often very heated, but it does no one’s good for statistics to be misused to advance the debate. Therefore, those who comment in this area should take extra care to ensure that they are using evidence and statistics correctly, accurately, in the proper context, and applying the necessary precautions. please
Gambling Commission Chief Executive
Last updated: August 14, 2023