Research Publications

All published research that has been commissioned by GambleAware can be found below.


Independent repository of gambling industry data – a scoping study

The gambling industry generates significant amounts of data, which can be analysed to gain insight into how different groups of people gamble, on different products and in different gambling environments. This data is important for all stakeholders to understand whether some gambling products or environments are more harmful than others. This can inform interventions and policy to minimise gambling harms and promote safer gambling practices. In addition, this is valuable for researchers in general to investigate a range of other research questions.

The University of Leeds was commissioned by GambleAware to undertake a scoping study to assess options and provide recommendations as to how an independent  Repository of gambling industry data could be established and maintained.

GambleAware is currently considering the findings and potential next steps.

Independent Repository of Gambling Industry Data – a scoping study
Dr Nik Lomax for the University of Leeds
August 2019

Gambling-related suicide research

The National Responsible Gambling Strategy sets the objective of making progress towards a better understanding of gambling-related harms and their measurement. Measuring gambling-related harms: A framework for action has been published by the Gambling Commission, Advisory Board for Safer Gambling and GambleAware. This discussion paper by an expert group sets out a view on defining gambling-related harms. Gambling-related harms take many forms, with negative impacts possible on peoples’ resources, relationships and health. Suicide is one of the most serious of the possible harms associated with gambling and one of the priority themes identified in the framework.

For information, more detail is available in the project brief produced by the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling.

The research was carried out by a consortium of researchers that included Dr Heather Wardle (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Sally McManus (NatCen), Professor Simon Dymond and Professor Ann John (Swansea University).

Read the press release, 3 reports: report 1, report 2 & report 3 & the summary.

Note: GambleAware procurement policy allows GambleAware to approach only one supplier for projects under £20,000. In this instance, a member of the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling involved in the gambling-related harm research programme had indicated interest in undertaking this project. In order to manage the conflict of interest, other interested parties were invited to submit proposals.

The effect of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable adults

As part of the Gambling Commission’s Research Programme that will contribute to the delivery of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, GambleAware has funded an extensive research project that examines the frequency and format of gambling advertising and marketing, and the exposure among children, young people and vulnerable adults.

The Advisory Board for Safer Gambling, together with the Gambling Commission, issued a research brief that sets out the policy context, need for the research, how the research will be used and the research questions to be addressed. From that brief, GambleAware developed the invitation to tender, which can be accessed here.

The objectives of the project are:

  1. To explore whether and how gambling marketing and advertising influences children and young people’s attitudes towards gambling
  2. To examine the tone and content of gambling marketing and advertising across all media, including social media affiliates and explore the potential impact of this on children, young people and vulnerable people
  3. To identify specific themes and features of gambling advertising that children, young people and vulnerable people are particularly susceptible to.

The project used a range of different research methods. These include:

  • A literature review
  • An in-depth analysis of advertising content across traditional and social media platform
  • An analysis of sports sponsorship
  • Face to face, online and telephone surveys
  • In-depth one to one interviews
  • Focus group discussions
  • Online avatars to identify targeted marketing

The project has been implemented in collaboration with two consortia as follows:

  • Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling; ScotCen Social Research; the University of Glasgow; University of Warwick
  • Ipsos MORI; Demos; Ebiquity; University of Bristol; University of Edinburgh

A briefing event was on 9 July 2019 at Goodenough College, London House, Mecklenburgh Square, London, WC1N 2AB. The purpose of the event was:

  1. To present preliminary findings from the first part of this research
  2. To invite discussion between key stakeholders around some of the key issues that have emerged
  3. To provide a networking opportunity.

The project will report in two tranches as follows:

  1. The first report was published on 9 July 2019 and includes findings from the literature review, media monitoring, social media analysis, the avatar analysis, and content analyses. This has been complemented by some of the findings from the focus group discussions and other qualitative work being done. Read the press release, executive summary, plain English summary and full report. Some of the strand reports that fed into the synthesis report have been published separately and can be found here.
  2. The second report will be published at the end of the year and will build on the first report and include findings from the online, telephone and face to face surveys

Measuring gambling-related harms among children and young people: A framework for action

A new framework to understand gambling harms experienced by children and young people has been published today. Read the report here and the Gambling Commission's announcement here.

This report, which has been developed by Ipsos MORI in collaboration with the Gambling Commission, Advisory Board for Safer Gambling and GambleAware, presents a framework to better understand the ways that harms from gambling can impact upon the health, relationships and finances of young people. It builds on earlier work to develop a framework for gambling harms among adults.


Can behavioural insights be used to reduce risky play in online environments?

GambleAware has published research, carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team, which looked at the ways of reducing risky play online.

The rise of online gambling has been a boon for the majority of gamblers who play safely. However, for those that are negatively affected by gambling, increased accessibility poses a risk of financial, social or health-related harm. Around 2.5 million people in the UK are considered to be gamblers at risk.

GambleAware commissioned the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) to look at how operators can further help to discourage risky gambling behaviours.

Through a blend of quantitative and qualitative research on gamblers, professionals treating gambling disorders and online gambling operators, BIT have come up with the following findings and recommendations:

How gamblers experience and interact with online gambling platforms

  • Online sites encourage gamblers to become engrossed in their play.
  • Money spent online doesn’t feel real.
  • More time and money are spent on gambling than intended.
  • Money as the main motivation to gamble is common among gamblers at risk.
  • Responsible gambling tools offered by operators aren’t seen to be sufficient.
  • Setting limits and self-exclusion don’t work for everyone.

How online operators currently identify problem gamblers

  • Fluctuating sums of money spent on betting.
  • Betting over £250 in an average day of gambling.
  • Making on average two or more deposits per day.
  • A pattern of highly variable returns within a day.
  • The likelihood of being a problem gambler drops with age.

Recommendations on how online operators can encourage responsible gambling

  • Consider the wider context that gamblers face, such as their general financial situation and social circumstances.
  • Improve messages to encourage gamblers to set gambling limits for themselves and include prompts to set a withdrawal strategy.
  • Reduce detachment from ‘real money’ such as having users to agree that a default amount of their winnings is to be transferred to their bank accounts.
  • Behavioural nudges that increase risky play, such as defaulting stakes and minimum deposits, should be removed.
  • Discourage users from making repeated and large deposits.
  • Make it easy to withdraw money from online gambling accounts.
  • Make sure that Responsible Gambling tools are easy visible and accessible to all users.
  • Consider having users to self-impose a time limit on play.

Read the report here and a summary of the report here.

Families living with problem gambling: Impacts, coping strategies and help-seeking

GambleAware has published research, carried out by Dr James Banks at Sheffield Hallam University, on the experiences of families living with problem gambling.

GambleAware commissioned researchers from Sheffield Hallam University to undertake this first UK study to understand the impact of gambling on families and loved ones, with a view to shaping best practice relating to education and prevention of gambling-related harm. Some 200 people including parents, children, partners and siblings have taken part in this research.

An overview of the findings

  • 99% of respondents say that their loved one’s problem gambling has harmed their health.
  • 96% have experienced relationship problems.
  • 93% report that their financial security has been adversely affected.
  • 89% of family members have lost a major asset such as a car, home or a business.
  • 82% state that their work and/or their education have suffered.

How family members seek help
Respondents have tried to access a range of formal and informal online, telephone and face-to-face help and support.

  • 77% have tried to access online information and advice.
  • 70% have gone to other family members and/or friends for support.
  • 48% have sought help from counselling services and gambling support groups.
  • 31% have turned to gambling telephone services.

Barriers to seeking help
While family members express that they are generally satisfied with the support they have had, they also report a range of internal and external barriers which prevent them from seeking help. These barriers are:

  • Embarrassment and shame
  • Suffering from depression and anxiety
  • Being unaware of support available and that these are free
  • Past negative experiences when seeking help for other problems
  • Fears that their family member would be classed as an addict and/or mentally ill
  • Concerns about confidentiality
  • Services aren’t always available quickly enough or in locations close to family members

Next steps to consider

  • Public health campaigns need to raise awareness of the impact of problem gambling on families.
  • Support services to have better signposting of help and information which are available to families.
  • Increase the availability and accessibility of support services to help family members.

Read the report here.

GambleAware issued an invitation to tender for innovative applied research, intended to support original and creative projects that help deliver or extend the National Responsible Gambling Strategy, within the bounds of GambleAware's charitable objectives.

A study on the role and influence of family and parental attitudes and behaviours on gambling-related harm in young people

GambleAware has published research carried out by Ecorys on the role and influence of parental and family behaviour on gambling-related harm in young people.

GambleAware appointed Ecorys (UK) to undertake this qualitative research study to understand the role and influence of parents and families on gambling and gambling related harm in young people.

Roles of parents and wider family members
This research finds that parents and wider family members influence young gamblers by playing one or more of these four specific roles:

  • Socialisers: Parents create an environment where gambling is seen as a social activity for family members to spend time together. Children can be exposed to gambling from a young age. Fathers tend to gamble socially with their sons, and mothers with their daughters. Young people are not taught about the risks of gambling in this environment and can learn to associate gambling with making money.
  • Facilitators: Parents facilitate a young person’s gambling indirectly, such as asking children for tips on a bet or placing bets in a child’s name on days out with the family. When children are legally able to gamble on their own, their parents may encourage their children to participate with them in games with higher stakes. This parental behaviour can lead to young people gambling more than they would have done otherwise.
  • Moderators: Parents, either knowingly or unknowingly, model ways for young people to gamble responsibly. More often, these parents show how they stay in control when gambling rather than explicitly discussing the risks of gambling disorders with their children. Young people can learn self-limiting measures from their parents.
  • Protectors: Parents offer emotional and practical support to their children who have developed a gambling disorder. In this role, parents are able to research, access services and encourage young people to seek professional support if it is needed.

Key policy and practice messages
While the research shows how parents can directly or indirectly encourage young people to gamble, it also highlights the importance of the moderating and protective roles of parents in helping young people to minimise gambling risks. Young people are less drawn to risky gambling behaviour when their parents have taught them responsible gambling strategies.  From a policy perspective, this suggests that encouraging parents to engage in the risks of gambling and actively discuss ways of safe gambling can be just as important as raising awareness of the risks of gambling with parents and young people.

Read the report here.

GambleAware issued an invitation to tender (ITT) for research into young people, gambling and gambling-related harm in February 2016. For information, the ITT can be accessed here. The bids were evaluated by GambleAware's Independent Research Oversight Panel and the decision was made to award the tender by the Research Committee.

Evaluating online blocking software

GambleAware has published an independent evaluation of software packages designed to block access to gambling websites and apps, carried out by Winning Moves.

GambleAware commissioned this research to:

  • Understand how blocking software is effective in minimising gambling related harm.
  • Explore, through consultation with stakeholders, if increasing awareness of software can help to minimise gambling risks for the wider population.

The effectiveness of blocking software
Users of the blocking software, who took part in this research, have varied views about its efficacy. Generally, it is considered effective when:

  • Some people consider blocking software enough of a deterrent to gambling online.
  • It makes it more of a hassle for gamblers to access content which, in some cases, leads to some users either getting bored or having the time to reflect why they do not want to gamble.
  • Users install the software on all devices.
  • Software is part of a treatment package tailored to the individual.
  • There is additional support from family members or friends.

Reasons for blocking software not being seen to be effective in reducing gambling risks are:

  • Software is less effective in blocking cryptocurrency gambling sites.
  • It doesn’t discourage individuals who are not fully committed to overcome their gambling problems.
  • Price of software is a barrier for some users who wish to install it on multiple devices.
  • Software can be easy to circumvent.
  • Not being able to gamble remotely has led some users to other means of participating in gambling activities.

Awareness of blocking software within the gambling population is mixed and this paper recommends that:

  • Support services have better signposting of help and information which are available to families.
  • The availability and accessibility of support services are increased to help family members.

Read the report here.

GambleAware issued an invitation to tender (ITT) for the evaluation of the effectiveness of gambling blocking software in August 2017. For information, the ITT can be accessed here.

Gambling and problem gambling among young adults: Insights from a longitudinal study of parents and children

GambleAware has published research carried out by Professor David Forrest and Professor Ian McHale at the University of Liverpool which shows high risk of developing gambling problems during early years of exposure to legal gambling.

Conducted by Professor David Forrest and Professor Ian McHale from the University of Liverpool, this study looks at young people’s gambling behaviour.

Background and key findings
The gambling activities of several thousand children born in Bristol in the early 1990s have been tracked at age 17 years and again when they were 20. Having analysed the results, the researchers have produced the following principal findings:

  • At age 17, 1.4% of young people had experienced at least a moderate level of harm but by the time they reached age 20, a majority of them had recovered.
  • The percentage of young people suffering from problem gambling between the ages of 17 and 20 had increased to 4.6%. 
  • People who experienced these problems at age 20 had shown no signs of them at age 17. At age 17, they had no not been regular gamblers.
  • At age 20, just over 10% of them were regular gamblers (weekly or more).
  • Apart from National lottery products, online gambling was the most common gambling activity.
  • For males, there were strong correlations between problem with alcohol and gambling disorders.
  • For 20 year old males, the probability of regular gambling was increased when the father had had a gambling problem.
  • For 20 year old females, their regular gambling habits were associated with their families’ attitudes towards health, risky activities and stigmatised behaviours. 

Implications of these findings

  • Significant numbers young people experience problem gambling develop at the ages of 18, 19 and 20, the period when they first have access to the full range of legal gambling opportunities.
  • There is a case for operators to adopt lower thresholds to trigger intervention when the customer is under 21.
  • Regulators could consider introducing specific provisions to Codes of Practice which will require operators to be particularly rigorous in their duty of care to young customers.
  • There needs to be a debate on appropriate regulatory action specifically to protect young people in this age group.

Read the announcement here and the report here

Measuring gambling-related harms - a framework for action

GambleAware has published research which establishes a framework for action to measure gambling-related harms.

This paper has two objectives:

  • Provide a working definition of gambling-related harms
  • Outline a range of measures and metrics to measure the social costs of gambling-related harms.

Proposed definition of gambling-related harms
The authors propose the following definition which they think adequately expresses the range of harms that are associated with gambling:
Gambling-related harms are the adverse impacts from gambling on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and society. These harms affect sources, relationships and health. While they can be short-lived, they have long-lasting consequences which can exacerbate existing inequalities.

Social costs of gambling-related harms
To date, there have been no attempts to quantify the full costs of gambling-related harms to society in Britain because such harms have not been defined. It is also not possible to measure all of these costs in monetary terms. The Institute of Public Policy Research has, however, tried to measure some of the costs by focusing on four areas: health, welfare and employment, housing and criminal justice. Based on their estimates, the costs range between £260 million and £1.6 billion. Given the narrow focus, the authors believe that these estimates are likely to be conservative.

Proposed key metrics for estimating social costs of gambling-related harms
The authors held a workshop with an expert panel to identify the metrics which can help to build a framework to better document the costs associated with gambling-related harms. These metrics are:

  • number of job losses/increased claims on benefit system
  • bankruptcy and/or debt relief orders
  • homelessness applications
  • use of debt services
  • crimes committed
  • divorce/separation/relationship breakdown
  • increased use of relationship services
  • experience of stress, depression, anxiety and other mental and physical conditions
  • number of suicides and suicide attempts

The authors see the above as a starting point which can expanded and refined over time. They wish to engage with subject experts and data scientists to make improvements to their proposed framework in order to produce useful data.

Read the announcement here & the framework here.

Gambling and homelessness: Developing instruments for practitioners

GambleAware has published research carried out by Dr Stephen Sharman (formerly of the University of Lincoln) and the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) which aimed to further our understanding of the relationship between gambling and homelessness, and to develop three instruments to be used by practitioners working with the homeless to assist them in identifying and responding to gambling-related harms in this population.

Commissioned by GambleAware, researchers spoke to 19 participants in a range of housing circumstances – from rough sleeping to being settled in private rented accommodation – to further our understanding of the relationship between gambling and homelessness. Using the feedback and insights from these interviews, they have developed three instruments which they believe will inform, educate and assist service users and service providers.

Gambling and homelessness
Gambling problems can be both a factor that contributes to the onset of homelessness and a behavioural problem that only manifests after an individual becomes homeless. Individuals taking part in this research cited the following reasons for gambling:

  • Coping mechanism and an escape from difficulties
  • Social interaction with other gamblers
  • Financial opportunity to escape poverty

Although some of the participants were aware of support services, they revealed that if and when they had approached homeless services regarding gambling problems, the response was mixed. Some services did not regard gambling as important as other issues such as substance abuse. Others did not consider gambling as a potential contributory factor to homelessness.

Instruments to support practitioners
Researchers have identified that there is a pressing need for homeless services to be better informed, and to receive better support to identify and help individuals with gambling problems. 

  • Information sheet designed to inform homeless service staff about gambling behaviour, potential reasons for gambling, and potential signs of gambling behaviour.
  • Screening tool which combines existing psychological components known to be relevant to gambling problems and more circumstantial factors which are specific to gamblers within the homeless community.
  • Resource sheet with easy-to-follow and helpful information to reassure individuals with suggestions on how to reduce gambling risks and details of both local and national gambling support services.

All three instruments have gone through cognitive testing to consider a range of perspectives from six service users and six service providers. The researchers state that these three instruments are now ready to be more fully assessed through large sample validation prior to a nationwide implementation.

To read the full report, click here.

Analysis of play among British online gamblers on slots and other casino-style games

GambleAware commissioned Professor Ian McHale and Professor David Forrest at the University of Liverpool to analyse play among British online gamblers on slots and other casino-style games.

Thirteen operators provided January 2017 data for online slots and casino-style gaming activities on their websites to the Gambling Commission. This report has analysed the data to understand the patterns of play on these products. The data relates to 1.25 million accounts and non-slots games played by about 785,000 people.

The researchers point out that a weakness of the data is that it is not possible to establish whether the customers of the different games and of different operators are the same individuals. Each customer of each game and each operator has been treated as a separate individual.

Patterns of play 

  • Spending by players: For most, spending was somewhat modest and comparable with what might be spent on many other leisure activities.
    o    73% of slots and 85% of non-slots customers spent less than £50 during the month.
    o    Up to 32,000 individuals lost in excess of £1,000. Given typical income levels and spending commitments in Great Britain, the authors of this report say that it is plausible that many of these individuals will have experienced harm.
  • Number of active days in the month: A clear majority of customers played on only 1 – 2 days in the month.
    o    More than 27,000 slots players and more than 11,000 users of non-slots games played daily or near daily.
  • Comparison between month losses and the numbers of days of play:
    o    More individuals who faced the heaviest of losses (more than £5,000) had played on 5-10 days in the month. The researchers say that operators should be alert to the risk of potentially severe harm being incurred as a result of play over only a few days.

Gross gaming yield for operators
The following figures suggest that revenue for operators were highly dependent on a small number of players in January 2017.

  • Gross gaming yield for the operators was £117.8m for slots games.
  • 59.2% of this was contributed by 1.7% of players who spent more than £1,000 in the month.
  • 78% of revenue came from the 4% of players who spent more than £500 in the month.

The need for further data
While this data has enabled an analysis how players behave in terms of spending, stakes and frequency, this report points out that gaps in knowledge remain. It recommends that operators provide regular data and additional information to the Gambling Commission in order for a more robust study.

Read the report below.

Analysis of play among British online gamblers on slots and other casino-style games

Analysis of play among British online gamblers - summary


Getting grounded in problematic play: using digital grounded theory to understand problem gambling and harm minimisation opportunities in remote gambling

This project was commissioned by GambleAware as part of its programme of research to improve understanding of the nature and risks of remote gambling and to examine how such risks and associated harms can be mitigated.

The report is by Dr Jonathan Parke, Sophro Ltd and Dr Adrian Parke, University of Lincoln.

Getting grounded in problematic play: using digital grounded theory to understand problem gambling and harm minimisation opportunities in remote gambling

A summary of research highlights has also been published.

Responsible gambling industry initiatives: Phase 1

GambleAware commissioned Revealing Reality to identify good responsible gambling practice and inspire change across the gambling industry.

The overall aim of the responsible gambling industry initiatives programme of research is to enhance industry social responsibility practices, where a cooperative approach across operators would be beneficial.

Responsible gambling industry initiatives - phase 1

Annexes 1-8
Annex 9
Annex 10

GambleAware issued an invitation to tender (ITT) for one or more of three Responsible Gambling Industry Initiatives addressing product information messaging, play information messaging and staff training. The closing date for applications was 26 April 2016. Click here to download the ITT, for information only.

Remote gambling research: Phase 2

GambleAware commissioned PwC and the Responsible Gambling Council (Canada) to explore whether practical behavioual markers of problem gambling in a remote context can be identified from data operators have access to.

The overall aim of the programme of research, building on the gaming machines research of 2014, is to explore the potential usefulness of industry-held data and behavioural analytics in the remote gambling sector, primarily to indicate markers and patterns of harmful or risky behaviour, and then to recommend best ways to mitigate against such risks and harms.

Remote Gambling Research: Interim Report on Phase 2

The first phase of this research is here: Remote gambling research: Interim report Phase 1.

Rapid reviews (advertising & blockchain)

GambleAware commissions its Independent Research Review Group (previously Independent Research Oversight Panel) to produce brief reports on topics of interest.

Consideration of the impact of immediate calls to action within gambling advertising - July 2017

Tipping point: When public opinion triggers changes to policy - June 2017

Live odds in-sports betting and time limited special offers - April 2017

Skins betting and blockchain: A brief overview - January 2017

A scoping investigation of eye-tracking in Electronic Gaming Machine play

This is the first study to use eye-tracking to improve our understanding of how machine players pay attention to roulette and slot games in commercial settings. The study describes the distribution of visual attention towards the game features of roulette and slots, and offers methodology for studying and optimizing the timing, placement and content of harm-minimisation messaging.

The research was conducted by Professor Robert Rogers and colleagues at Bangor University.

A scoping investigation of eye-tracking in Electronic Gaming Machine play

Evaluation of the Multi-Operator Self-Exclusion Scheme for bookmakers

At the request of The Senet Group, GambleAware commissioned Chrysalis Research to conduct an independent evaluation of the Multi-Operator Self-Exclusion Scheme.  Senet took over the operation of MOSES in the autumn of 2016 and wanted to understand its effectiveness and identify opportunities for improvement.

Evaluation of the Multi-Operator Self-Exclusion Scheme (for Retail Bookmakers)

GambleAware issued an invitation to tender for this research in September 2016 to its evaluation panel. The decision was made to award the tender by the GambleAware Research Committee.

Note: The Gambling Commission has encouraged all sectors to conduct evaluations of their self-exclusion schemes and is developing guidelines to standardise the approach; this evaluation precedes that advice so we expect it will be repeated on a consistent basis alongside the schemes for casinos, bingo, arcades and, once it is live at the end of 2017, the online sector.

FOB-Ts in British betting shops: Further analysis of machine data to examine the impact of the £50 Regulations

Analysis of machine data to examine the impact of the £50 regulations in bookmakers.

This research was requested by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, and conducted by Professor Ian McHale, University of Salford & Professor David Forrest, University of Liverpool.

FOB-Ts in British betting shops: Further analysis of machine data

GambleAware issued an invitation to tender for this research in September 2016. The decision was made to award the tender by the GambleAware Research Committee.

Follow-up study of loyalty card customers: Changes in gambling behaviour over time

GambleAware has published a follow-up study of loyalty card holders that adds new information to our knowedge of problems associated with machines gambling.

The study was conducted by NatCen and Dr Heather Wardle.

Follow-up study of loyalty card customers


Cards on the table: The cost to government of problem gambling in Great Britain

The true cost of problem gambling is revealed in a report commissioned by GambleAware. The study, completed by the Institute of Public Policy Research, estimates that problem gamblers cost the government between £260 million and £1.2 billion per year.

Cards on the table: The cost to government of problem gambling in Great Britain

GambleAware issued the invitation to tender (ITT) for this research project in April 2016. The ITT is provided here, for information only.

Key issues in product based harm-minimisation

GambleAware has published an authoritative overview of the international evidence relating to product-based harm-minimisation which offers a critical examination of relevant policy issues.

The reports authors are Professor Jonathan Parke, Sophro; Dr Adrian Parke, University of Lincoln; and Professor Alex Blaszczynski, University of Sydney.

Key issues in Product Based Harm-Minimisation

Evaluation of the player awareness system implementation

GambleAware has published a study by PwC that independently evaluates the Association of British Bookmaker's “Player Awareness System” for gaming machines in licensed betting offices.

Evaluation of player awareness system implementation

Problem gambling in licensed bingo premises

GambleAware has published a study by Ipsos MORI and Heather Wardle to “identify the nature and extent of ‘problem gambling’ behaviour in licensed bingo clubs in Great Britain.”  

Problem gambling in licensed bingo premises

Tracked play on B1 gaming machines in British casinos

GambleAware has published research that reviewed loyalty card data from more than 5 million casino visits made by more than 850,000 visitors between 2012 and 2014, revealing patterns of gaming machine player behaviour in casinos.

This Report is linked to the suite of research, commissioned by GambleAware, which examines issues related to the use of gaming machines in Great Britain.

Tracked play on B1 gaming machines in British casinos

Children and young people's gambling: Research review

GambleAware has published a research review into children and young people's gambling by Professor Gill Valentine at the University of Sheffield. This is an update of a review commissioned and published by the Gambling Commission in 2008.

Children and young people's gambling: Research review

Remote gambling research: Phase 1

GambleAware has published an initial report by PwC and the Responsible Gambling Council summarising the first phase of their project to explore the potential usefulness of industry-held data and behavioural analytics in the remote gambling sector, primarily to indicate markers and patterns of harmful or risky behaviour, and then to recommend best ways to mitigate such risks and harms.  This interim report synthesises the latest thinking on harm from problematic behaviour through a literature review and consultation with leading remote gambling operators, and then recommends and approach for Phase 2 which will involve analysis of industry data and a customer survey. Phase 3 will develop and test a set of interventions to target at-risk individuals.

Remote gambling research: Interim report on Phase 1

Secondary analysis into Category B2 and B3 gaming machines

GambleAware published three further reports on 24 May 2016 in relation to its programme of research into Category B gaming machines.  Using data supplied by the industry in 2014, independent researchers were asked to answer 8 further questions posed by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board:

  • Percentage of income from Problem Gamblers within the sample?
  • Further analysis of loss distribution by decile?
  • Understanding problem gamblers better: Can the range of linked data set variables be examined through a process of ‘reverse engineering’ to explore whether any other variables might play a useful role within the development of algorithms?
  • What else might we learn from about problem gamblers from the loyalty card survey data? Can problem gambler typologies be developed?
  • What are the differences in demographics between B2/B3 players? What else can we learn about players’ transitions between B2 and B3 content?
  • What further descriptive data can be extracted about the £100 stake?
  • What are the differences in behaviour when players are spending wins vs loading their own new money into the machine?
  • Whether there are any correlations with engagement and problem gambling and clusters of betting shops as opposed to proximity to one betting shop?  

(NB Regulatory changes affecting B2 stakes of £50 or more have been introduced since this data was provided)

People who play machines in bookmakers: secondary analysis of loyalty card survey data
Author: Heather Wardle

Examining the effect of proximity and concentration of B2 machines to gambling play
Authors: Gaynor Astbury & Heather Wardle

Secondary Analysis of Machines Data
Authors: David Excell & Piotr Grudzien

Two summaries of the research are also available:
NatCen and Geofutures summary
Featurespace summary

Gambling and social media

GambleAware has published a report by think-tank Demos studying the link between online communities and gambling.

Gambling and social media


Evaluating the impact of the uplift of stakes and prizes on B1 gaming machines in casinos

GambleAware has published an evaluation of the impact of regulatory changes to stakes and prize limits on gaming machines in casinos. The authors are David Forrest, Ian G. McHale and Heather Wardle.
Evaluating the impact of the uplift of stakes and prizes on B1 gaming machines in casinos

Update - Gambling advertising: a critical research review

GambleAware published a report in 2014 reviewing the international research on gambling-related advertising. The report by Dr Per Binde of the University of Gothenburg pays particular attention to studies that concern the impact of such advertising on participation in gambling and the prevalence of problem gambling. A key aim of the report is to provide useful recommendations about the potential of research approaches in producing reliable and meaningful results.
Gambling advertising: a critical research review 

The bibliography of this report was updated in December 2015:
Gambling advertising: a critical research review - Bibliography update

Initial impact assessment of ABB Code

GambleAware has published an independent assessment by NatCen Social Research of the Association of British Bookmakers' (ABB) 'Code for Responsible Gambling and Player Protection'. The assessment was commissioned by GambleAware and looks at the initial impact of the ABB Code and recommends a future evaluation model to ensure the ABB Code continues to be relevant to the needs of betting shop staff and customers.
ABB Code for Responsible Gambling and Player Protection: Evaluation of early impact among machine gamblers
Developing a logic model for the ABB Code for Responsible Gambling and Player Protection

A spatial investigation into bookmakers using industry data

GambleAware has published geographic analysis of the location of licensed betting offices (LBOs) with gaming machines. The research places machine play in a geographic context and details the populations LBOs typically serve. The independent analysis was conducted by Geofutures and commissioned by GambleAware. It forms part of the programme of research requested by the government, the gambling regulator and the industry to help inform policy decisions into gaming machines located in bookmakers. The research utilised studies conducted by NatCen Social Research and Featurespace, and published by GambleAware in December 2014.

A spatial investigation into bookmakers using industry data


Category B Gaming Machines located in British Bookmakers

GambleAware published seven reports on 1 December 2014 in relation to its programme of research into Category B gaming machines:
Report 1: Theoretical markers of harm for machine play in a bookmaker's. A rapid scoping review.
Authors: Heather Wardle, Jonathan Parke and David Excell

Report 2: Identifying problem gambling - findings from a survey of loyalty card customers.
Authors: Heather Wardle, David Excell, Eleanor Ireland, Nevena Ilic and Stephen Sharman.

Report 3: Predicting problem gamblers: analysis of industry data.
Authors: David Excell, Georgiy Bobashev, Heather Wardle, Daniel Gonzalez-Ordonez, Tom Whitehead, Robert J. Morris, Paul Ruddle.

Patterns of play: analysis of data from machines in bookmakers
Update 19/9/16: A revised version of this report has been published with changes made to Table B.7. In the previous version, because of the way some bets were recorded, it looked like the maximum stakes people had placed was £200. This is an oddity about how the system stores and records bets related to bonuses and the authors have excluded these cases from the analysis in this version. Versions of the report as previously published are available on request.
Update 14/9/16: The authors have informed RGT of a suspected calculation error affecting some figures in this report, which will be corrected as soon as possible.  The authors do not expect the corrections to alter the conclusions.  If necessary a revised report will be published once available with changes clearly marked.
Authors: Heather Wardle, Eleanor Ireland, Stephen Sharman, David Excell and Daniel Gonzalez-Ordonez.

The role of stake size in loss of control in within-session gambling.
Authors: Adrian Parke, Andrew Harris, Jonathan Parke and Paul Goddard.

Understanding of Return to Player messages: Findings from user testing.
Authors: Debbie Collins, Sophie Green, Jo d'Ardenne, Heather Wardle & Shauna-Kaye.

Changes in machine gambling behaviour. Headline findings from a follow-up study of participants to the Health Survey for England 2012, Scottish Health Survey 2012 and the British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010.
Authors: Heather Wardle & Dan Philo.

Summaries of the seven reports have been published.

A view from the Machines Research Oversight Panel (now Independent Research Oversight Panel) on this research has been provided.

Self-Exclusion as a gambling harm minimisation measure in Great Britain: An overview of the academic evidence and perspectives from industry and treatment

GambleAware has published a review of the academic evidence regarding self-exclusion as well as surveying perspectives from industry and treatment providers. The survey was conducted by the Self-Exclusion Group of the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board and GambleAware and asked them how effective self-exclusion has been as a form of harm minimisation in gambling. It found that the majority of respondents from gambling businesses and treatment providers believed the industry needs to ensure self-exclusion is irrevocable within the agreed period, improve information sharing between gambling operators, improve the standard of training for staff, and ban marketing to problem gamblers who have excluded themselves.
Self-Exclusion as a Gambling Harm Minimisation Measure in Great Britain: An Overview of the Academic Evidence and Perspectives from Industry and Treatment 

Operator-based approaches to harm minimisation in gambling: Summary, review and future directions

GambleAware has published a review which highlights the need for gambling operators to engage players with responsible and problem gambling guidance, offer self-exclusion mechanisms which are quick and simple to implement, and to ensure that staff members are properly trained. The reportwas led by Professor Alex Blaszczynski of the University of Sydney and reviews the nature and effectiveness of harm minimisation in gambling and proposes areas where further understanding should be developed to enable effective harm minimisation measures to be introduced.
Operator-based Approaches to Harm Minimisation in Gambling

Gaming machines research (Stage 1)

In December 2013, GambleAware published the report of the first stage of its research programme into gaming machines in Great Britain. NatCen, a leading social research institute, was commissioned to scope industry data held by 13 industry operators representing 80% of the highest stakes and prizes gaming machines market and to explore its usefulness for future research.

Scoping the use of industry data on Category B gaming machines

The report was a first stage of an ongoing independent research programme commissioned by GambleAware in order to better understand how people behave when playing on those gaming machines offering the highest stakes and prizes, and what helps people to stay in control and play responsibly.

Gaming machines research (Stage 2)

Following input by the Government, the Gambling Commission and the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board the second stage of research into gaming machines has been expanded in recognition of growing concern about gaming machines in Licensed Betting Offices (LBOs) and to ensure that GambleAware meets its original aim of commissioning independent research that will provide substantive knowledge to better describe, understand, identify and mitigate gambling-related harm in relation to gaming machines by autumn 2014.

Details of the second stage of the research programme


Consumer behaviour in relation to gaming machines

GambleAware commissioned a number of socio-economic reviews of consumer behaviour to inform its gaming machine research programme and the first five were published in December 2013 in a special issue of the Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, which is available via the following link:
Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, Volume 7 Number 3 2013

Examining machine player behaviour: a qualitative exploration

NatCen was previously commissioned by the Responsible Gambling Fund (RGF) to examine machine player behaviour, which GambleAware published in December 2013 and will inform the future program of gaming machine research:

Examining machine player behaviour: a qualitative exploration


GambleAware-funded PhD's