The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has alerted stakeholders of changes to its upcoming “Young People and Gambling” report, due to be published on 10 November.
Since 2011, the Commission has surveyed 11 to 16-year-olds’ involvement in gambling as a key assessment of market safeguards to protect children from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
However, since 2020, the regulator has been unable to undertake its yearly survey due to the impact of school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hiatus saw the UKGC’s research team reflect on the design of the survey and questions asked to young people in a bid to better understand their gambling issues, concerns and habits.
The Commission noted: “Gambling is a tricky subject to research, especially amongst 11 to 16-year-olds whose understanding of what is and isn’t gambling, and experience of gambling, varies widely.
“We also cover some sensitive topics in the survey, including questions which are used to identify young people who may be experiencing difficulties with their gambling.
“It is worth remembering that the questions we ask to children and young people about problem gambling are different to those we ask to adults and, therefore, results are not comparable.”
Seeking to improve the survey’s design, the commission had the 2019 report peer-reviewed by the Government Statistical Service (GSS), with feedback used to improve the 2022 report.
Changes will see the report provide a distinction on young people’s active involvement in gambling (those who spend money on gambling) alongside wider experiences of gambling (betting with friends, family, etc).
Helping Improve research consistencies, the report will focus only on gambling activities that young people have experienced or been actively involved with in the past 12 months
Of significance, the report will only feature questions in the youth-adapted problem gambling screener (DSM-IV-MR-J) of young people actively involved in gambling.
The change ensures that problem gambling estimates reflect “young people who have spent their own money on gambling”.
The Commission also seeks to provide a “broader focus on the impact of gambling on young people” informing stakeholders on deeper insights into individual gambling habits and family influences on young people’s gambling.
“We’ll be continuing to develop our use of this data to build a fuller understanding, particularly the extent and severity of gambling-related harms they may experience,” the regulator added.
“Given the changes that have been made, the report will include data for 2022 only and will form a benchmark against which future waves of research can be measured. Findings will not be directly comparable with previous releases.”