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UK Gambling Commission releases three-year research plan

Gambling stats UKGC

The UK Gambling Commission has unveiled its Evidence Gaps and Priorities programme for 2023-2026, outlining areas in the British gambling sector that require further research and data collection.

The commission has identified six key areas of research that will be the focus of its investigations: early gambling experiences and gateway products, the range and variability of gambling experiences, gambling-related harms and vulnerability, the impact of operator practices, product characteristics and risk, and illegal gambling and crime.

The research will explore how individuals first engage with gambling activities and the potential risks associated with these initial experiences. The commission is interested in understanding the range and variability of gambling experiences to gain insights into patterns of behaviour and their impact on individuals.

The commission also aims to deepen its understanding of the negative consequences of gambling and the factors that contribute to vulnerability. By identifying these risks, they can develop strategies to mitigate harm and protect individuals.

The commission recognises the need to build trust between operators and gamblers, and aims to examine how practices such as detection algorithms can help identify individuals at risk of harm. It will also investigate the influence of game functionality, the placement of gambling opportunities, and the presentation of product information.

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Product characteristics and risk will be studied to gain insights into how certain features of gambling products may increase the risk of harm to individuals. By understanding the relationship between product design and user risks, the commission can work towards developing safer gambling products without compromising the enjoyment of users.

The regulator also aims to understand the extent of criminal activity related to gambling, the size and impact of the illegal gambling market, and consumer motivations for engaging in illegal gambling. Identifying unregulated operators and finding effective ways to combat illegal gambling will be a priority.

Throughout its research, the commission emphasises the importance of evidence and the need for comprehensive data to inform decision-making.

“Evidence matters. We all make decisions based on how we understand the world around us, what the evidence is telling us,” said Tim Miller, UKGC Executive Director of Research and Policy.

“The bigger the decision and the wider its impact, the more likely we all are to want more information before we act. Before the big choices, we all want to fill in the gaps in our understanding. What’s true for us all in our daily lives is just as true for our understanding of gambling.”

The commission further reiterated that it is committed to transparency, collaboration, and the inclusion of diverse perspectives, including the lived-experience community.

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