UKGC alters the iGaming research methodology

Cvetanka Cvetanovska | Published 8 Jan 2021, 12:29 p.m.

The UK Gambling Commission has ticked one of their New Year Resolutions. This week they’ve opened a consultation regarding their collecting and research data methodology. These tools were used to evaluate gambling behaviour and participation and look deeper at the problem gambling statistics.

The need for a unified and standardised approach 

The feedback they’ll receive will aim to establish a new standard on collecting valuable and quality data. The consultation will run until 12 February, which is just enough time for the regulator to identify and implement changes in its current approach.

The UKGC has announced that they expect support and response from licensees, consumers, finance experts, and charities interested in iGaming regulation and research. The core proposal aligned in the consultation document is to replace the online and telephone health surveys with a single, standard integrated approach. The Commission said that this strategy would be more efficient, timely, cost-effective and give more accurate results. To date, the UKGC has collected data following the standards set out by the Government Statistical Service.

The UKGC further adds they have identified new criteria that the new approach needs to enable and adopt. Among the requirements are the content changes in the questionnaire that need to keep up with the latest market trends and digital consumption. This way, authorities will ensure the data represents the population in England, Scotland and Wales. Furthermore, with greater control over the tools used in the process, they would be able to publish annual gambling market statistics.

Previous content and data improvement initiatives 

In the statement by the UKGC, they emphasise the transparency and objectivity in the data collecting process. Along with DCMS as their lead government department, will produce official statistics that should be bound by the Code of Practice principles, quality and value. Furthermore, they will publish full details of the design, response rates and quality assurance (QA) tests.

This open consultation comes right after the UKGC announced they’ll extend the consultation deadline involving remote customer interactions. Just a month ago, the DCMS issued a review of the 2005 Gambling Act. This review has aligned new advertising restrictions and raised the minimum age for playing the National Lottery.

Meanwhile, the Commission issued a reminder to licensed operators to use an online copyright tool to ensure that their content and ads don’t appear on unauthorised, copy-infringing websites. Every licensed operator must have appropriate campaign terms and conditions. These will further allow them to terminate third-party contracts with affiliates that don’t comply with the digital protection laws.  

The regulator set ambitious goals to improve the quality and robustness of gambling data and statistics. They’ve started to work on the 2020/2021 Business Plan to review their approach and participation in public announcements and conclusions. This way, they would assure their work is compliant, transparent for the public and in line with the standards.