The UK gambling regulator closely inspected the misuse of statistics for pushing agendas and furthering arguments. Andrew Rhodes, the CEO of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), published an open letter to highlight the fact that the watchdog believes that misuse of statistics is simply unacceptable, although it respects all kinds of opinions related to gambling.
Mr Rhodes explained that all parties who use statistics to prove a point should make sure they do so in the correct contest and be accurate. He also warned that the country’s gambling regulator might turn to the Office for Statistics Regulation for help regarding documented cases of misused data.
The UKGC explained that it has caught all parties that are currently “for” and “against” gambling – such as gambling operators, sports bodies, non-profit organisations, unions, and media companies – misusing statistics to make their arguments look more acceptable. Apart from that, the regulatory body has received some information that some of the complainants themselves have misused statistics, or at least resorted to unreliable statistics, whose authors have noted that the data presented in their works might not be as though as expected, to make a point.
The CEO of the gambling watchdog noted that gambling is a topic that should and can be discussed in depth but highlighted that statistics misuse serves no one in the process.
The Gambling Addiction Rate Unveiled as the Most-Misused Statistic
As revealed by the UK Gambling Commission’s boss, the problem gambling rate in the country was the most commonly misused statistic, as multiple organisations have referred to a figure claiming that only 0.3% of British adults can be categorised as gambling addicts.
The aforementioned figure relates to a short Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) screen of the country’s gambling watchdog, according to which, there were between 0.2% and 0.6% of people over the age of 16 had experienced gambling-related harm in the period from March 2019 to March 2023. Apart from that, the UKGC also highlighted the fact that the figure represents only gamblers who are already categorised as gambling addicts and not players who are at risk of being affected by gambling-related harm.
Multiple organisations, however, have wrongly claimed that the figure represents 0.3% of all British gamblers and that it refers to both at-risk gamblers and problem gamblers.
The regulatory body of the UK gambling sector referred to a number of surveys to prove that the 0.3% claims were not right, including the Heath Survey for England 2018, the HAS 2021 Gambling tables, and the Health Survey for England 2021, all of which claim that the problem gambling rates in the country are much higher than the claimed 0.3%. Sadly, these statistics do not show the full picture, too, because the problem gambling behaviour of many gamblers remains undiagnosed.
Apart from that, Mr Rhodes noted that some gambling verticals are wrongly presented as “less risky”, which is misleading and untrue. He further explained that interested parties have sometimes made a comparison between different statistics to prove a point claiming that the country’s gambling sector has developed for the better. Although this is not a problem per se, the presented data, methodologies, and arguments used by the parties, are often faulty.
The good news is that the real statistics confirm that gambling addiction rates in the UK remain low for the time being. However, the UKGC criticised all parties that misinterpret data to take advantage of certain statistics to push agendas and reminded that problem gambling can have a detrimental impact on entire families and communities.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.