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December 14, 2023

Open Letter From Commission CEO on The Misuse of Gambling Statistics

In an open letter released on 14th August 2023, Andrew Rhodes, the chief executive of the Gambling Commission, discussed the overall coverage of gambling and criticized the “misuse of gaming statistics” in order to support certain political outcomes. This comes as a purposely done act from different parties who aim to argue for or against various proposals in the wake of the Gambling Act review white paper.

According to Rhodes, the UKGC has observed a massive amount of gaming statistics being misused by various organizations. These cover trade bodies, gambling operators, media outlets, charities, and sporting venue owners.

As Rhodes said: “This is unacceptable. All parties trying to rely on stats to push forward their arguments should do so in the correct context and accurately.”

Above all else, the statistics around the problem gambling rate in the UK have been misrepresented. This has been stressed by the conflation among people between gambling-related harm and problem gambling, which are two entirely separate but conjoined experiences. You can see what's going on Gray Market for Cybersports

Problem gambling is the deterioration or disruption of family, recreational, and personal pursuits, which can be measured on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI).

On the other hand, gambling-related harm is a broader problem that presents itself in the well-being of families, individuals, communities, and society.

In order to help people with the identification and distinction of gambling-related harms, a new survey for Great Britain has been crafted, which will launch along with the PGSI.

Misuse of 0.3% Problem Gambling Statistics

In his letter, Rhodes particularly pointed out two recurrently used statistics – “99.7% of users who gamble do so without being harmed” and “only 0.3% of players are harmed”. He noted that this is far from reality and misinterprets the statistics.

According to Rhodes, these figures are based on the data of the PSGI (Problem Gambling Severity Index) short-form screen and are very often used by parties who are against stricter gaming reforms. He criticized the mention of the 0.3% index and noted that the PSGI screen in its longer version highlighted figures ranging between 0.2% and 0.6% in the last few years. This is the percentage of the entire adult population in the UK, USA, Australia that suffer from gambling addiction and not only those who play online video games or live casino as many have tried to suggest.

The letter points out the data from the Health Survey for England 2021, which found that individuals over 16 who had been gambling in the previous 12 months experienced a problem gaming rate of 0.8%.

The chief executive also warned against people who believe the 0.3% index represents those “at risk” from gaming harms. He called this “misleading and inaccurate”. Based on the same survey, there is a 1.2% moderate gaming risk rate and 4% of people facing a low-risk rate.

Statistics Bring Out Complicated Pictures

Moving forward, Andrew Rhodes said that based on the statistics, the overall problem gambling percentage is low compared to the participation level.

“But when we go beneath the surface of those figures, the situation is more complicated and stands in need of stats to be properly understood and properly used when talking about these matters,” noted the CEO.

According to him, even with a comparatively low percentage of people stumbling on problem gambling, it's crucial to keep in mind that this can and does have disastrous out-turns and equates to thousands of people directly affected. This also covers a huge number of relatives, friends, families, and others.

In a nutshell, in his letter, Andrew Rhodes asked everyone who shares opinions in this area to be more careful to make sure they are basing their arguments on evidence and statistics correctly and in the appropriate context.

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