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Leading Expert on Surveys Backs UKGC’s Gambling Survey

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Professor Patrick Sturgis from the London School of Economics (LSE) has given his support to the methodology used in developing the Gambling Survey for Great Britain (GSGB), which is designed to produce accurate gambling statistics for the nation.

Sturgis is a professor of Quantitative Social Science at the Department of Methodology. His research focuses on survey and statistical methods and how they can be used to understand social and political behavior. He published an independent assessment of the survey and described the methodological approach as “exemplary in all respects”. He also provided a number of recommendations to help address some key issues.

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A Change from the Telephone

In the past, gambling surveys have been conducted every quarter via telephone. The new GSGB is a ‘push-to-web’ survey that will deal exclusively with gambling. According to Sturgis, this will allow for a far larger sample size. It is thought that there will be 20,000 annual responses compared to 4,000 in the past.

Sturgis drew attention to the successful pilot study carried out by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) in January and February 2022, which resulted in 1,078 responses. The survey had a response rate of 21%, which is in line with other ‘push-to-web’ surveys carried out in the UK.

He also said that “the move to self-completion was the correct decision” and praised the UKGC for holding consultations with industry stakeholders and following industry standards.

UKGC Accepts Recommendations

Sturgis provided seven recommendations for the UKGC. These include continuing to carry out research in order to understand survey response biases, looking at question biases for online respondents, and looking at ways to benchmark the survey’s results against face-to-face interviews.

The recommendations were welcomed by Tim Miller, the executive director of the UKGC, and he said that they will be used to produce better data in order to improve regulations. He said that it is important to understand the effects of changes to the survey, suggesting that there will be a continual process of evaluation and improvement.

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