Vital Statistics – Measuring the Extent of Gambling Reforms required in the UK

In this month’s Licensing Expert article for SBC News entitled “Vital Statistics – Measuring the Extent of Gambling Reforms Required in the UK” (that you can download below), David Clifton suggests that the results of statisticians’ work are likely to play an important part in gathering a robust evidence base of a type the government has described as “essential to effective policymaking and regulation”.

His article focuses on recent statistics relating to:

  • unlicensed online gambling,
  • gambling behaviour data,
  • affordability and
  • gambling-related harm.

He concludes the ‘statistics’ section of his article by quoting the following extract from a conference speech delivered by Tim Miller, Executive Director of the Gambling Commission, on 25 February 2021:

Amongst the debate around gambling, it often gets forgotten that a lot of progress has been made over the last three years.  For example, gambling-related harm is now recognised as a public health issue, which needs a public health approach.  That wasn’t universally accepted three years ago. Improvements have been made on markers of harm, the management of ‘VIP’ customers, games design, gambling on credit cards and customer interaction.

David is firmly of the view that the industry is entitled to its fair share of credit for that.

NOTE: David’s article was written immediately before further statistics with direct bearing on the gambling reform debate emerged from:

  • a report by the Social Market Foundation entitled “Double or nothing? Assessing the economic impact of gambling”, on which we have reported here
  • a paper by Christopher Snowdon (Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs) entitled “A Safer Bet – Gambling and the risks of over-regulation”, on which we have reported here, and
  • a NatCen interim research report entitled “Exploring online patterns of play”, the standout finding of which is that 5% of online gambling accounts were responsible for 70% of British GGY in the period between July 2018 and June 2019 (when the research was conducted), on which we have reported here.