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Online gambling data: initial analysis

NatCen Social Research; University of Liverpool

The Research

This ambitious research project examining online gambling behaviour aims to better understand how gamblers’ patterns of play vary across different environments and activities. Player level data will be gathered from many of the largest online gambling firms and collated into one unified dataset, so that ‘big data’ analysis can be undertaken to identify indicators of potentially harmful behaviour.  

This project forms part of an overall programme of research that seeks to better understand ‘real world’ gambling behaviours. Currently, little is known about how people engage with the variety of online gambling activities that are now available to players, such as live casino games, tournament level poker, virtual and eSport betting, and online bingo.

The data collected will cover a year’s worth of interactions by players, including details of dates and times of gambling, stakes placed and overall returns or losses within each session, contextual information about the devices used, and any use of “responsible gambling” tools. 

By sharing thousands of records of detailed player level data, gambling operators will contribute to the compilation of a vast, rich dataset, which will enable both analysis of individual behaviour over time and comparisons of behaviours across different gambling activities and companies. The ambition is that for a sample of players, a follow-on survey will be conducted, which will enable researchers to link further demographic and attitudinal information to behavioural data to provide deeper insights. 

Methods

The specification for the data to be extracted from online gambling firms will be informed by qualitative depth interviews with gamblers. Descriptive and econometric analysis will be undertaken on the combined behavioural dataset, which will be complemented by survey research.

Project lead
Dr Sokratis Dinos & Anne Conolly, NatCen Social Research; Professor David Forest & Professor Ian McHale, University of Liverpool
Timeline
Spring 2019 – Summer 2021