Gambling is big. Very big, and very popular. In the UK alone, the industry is worth a whopping £14 billion and according to the latest figures around 47% of the population has gambled in the last four weeks. For most people, it is another part of their leisure and entertainment activities that will not have any serious negative impacts on their lives and on the people around them.
Most, but not all. The 2018 Health Survey for England estimated that over 1.75 million people could be classed as ‘at-risk gamblers’. Someone experiencing problem gambling can negatively affect, on average, six other people around them. Beyond individual harms, gambling has costly knock-on effects for society as a whole – impacting mental health care and inpatient services, Job Seekers Allowance, work productivity, homelessness assistance and incarceration rates.
That’s why today BIT is launching the Gambling Policy & Research Unit, a dedicated team of specialists with a mandate to develop and rigorously test methods and approaches to significantly reduce gambling harms. The UK is already the largest regulated gambling market in the world. Our vision for the Gambling Policy & Research Unit is to make the UK gambling market the most safely regulated in the world.
The new Unit builds on the work BIT has been doing since 2017 to understand what works to reduce gambling harms. Over these four years we have teamed up with a diverse group of partners, including, among others, HSBC, Monzo, bet365 and GambleAware to show how behavioural insights can play a critical role in reducing gambling-related harms. Below are some of the ideas we’ve tested:
- Improving the uptake of gambling management tools by identifying and reducing the friction typically associated with accessing them
- Demonstrating that removing high anchors often found with deposit limits leads customers to set lower limits
- Testing whether using commitment devices can help individuals set more realistic goals that better align with their personal circumstances
- Analysing bank data to understand gambling behaviour better than existing data.
Working in partnership with other stakeholders, the Gambling Policy & Research Unit will draw on the full range of BIT’s expertise and resources including data science and data analysis, qualitative research, trials, policy advice and recommendations, and developing and testing messaging for information campaigns. We will design and scale successful interventions, build evidence for policy and regulatory advice and changes that can be replicated and iterated globally, and explore instances where gambling is influenced and intersects with other sectors (e.g. video gaming), to inform cutting-edge solutions.
We are actively looking to partner with interested stakeholders across the whole spectrum of those directly or indirectly connected to gambling, from gambling operators to banks, advertisers to video game producers, consumer advocacy groups to treatment organisations. If this sounds of interest please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also recruiting for motivated individuals to join the Gambling Policy & Research Unit. We currently have two vacancies that are open for applications until 27th September 2021 – a Senior Advisor and an Advisor. Apply here