Corrected UKGC data on impact of Covid-19 on gambling behaviour to be published next month

The Gambling Commission has published on its website the following information notice entitled ‘Information on incorrect Covid-19 data supply’ that it appears will have bearing on research it commissioned to explore the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on gambling behaviours.

People are advised to exercise caution when analysing Covid-19 gambling data after it emerged that the Gambling Commission has been supplied incorrect information by an operator.

Since the beginning of the pandemic the Commission has been publishing aggregated operator data to add an additional layer of insight onto its ongoing monitoring and understanding of the risks and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The data was supplied by a number of large operators who represented approximately 80% of Britain’s online gambling market including William Hill. As a result of a query raised by the Commission during the data quality assurance process, William Hill has now informed the Commission that the data they supplied between March 2020 and September 2021 contained incorrect datapoints.

As a result, the Commission is working to quality assure corrected data, re-run the analysis and republish the corrected data in early February 2022. We are also reviewing any regulatory consequences of William Hill’s failure to submit accurate data.

The most recently published research findings (in September 2021) were reported by us here. It is not yet known (a) to what extent this error will have material bearing on the Commission’s previous conclusions or (b) what, if any, regulatory action may be taken against William Hill. However, that did not prevent The Guardian from reporting the above story today (3 January 2022) under the heading ‘William Hill faces fine after giving incorrect data to regulator’.