GambleAware’s research function helps develop knowledge that builds the evidence about ‘what works for whom’, which underpins the commissioning of prevention, treatment and support services to help keep people safe from gambling harms. View research and evaluation projects and publications here.
GambleAware's approach to research and evaluation
GambleAware is the strategic commissioner of the system of prevention, early intervention and treatment of gambling harms in Great Britain. Its use and funding of research supports a public health commissioning approach to preventing and reducing gambling harms, in line with the organisation’s charitable objectives and its 2021-26 organisational strategy.
This strategy set out broad a direction of travel for research which involved a gradual phasing out of analysis of gambling products and operators for regulatory purposes, alongside an increase in research on populations, communities and systems in order to inform the design and commissioning of interventions. In line with standard practice across health and care commissioning, this approach places particular focus on understanding population needs, outcomes and lived experiences, among the communities that GambleAware seeks to serve. This generally means research on:
- The communities or populations who are most significantly impacted by gambling harms or wider health and structural inequalities
- The communities or populations who are most significantly impacted by inequalities in access to support or experiences of support
- The lived experiences of these communities
- The underlying drivers and barriers that lead to increased need for support, or reduced access to or usage of support
- The need for and demand for different forms of support or intervention, including variations across the population and by level of need
- Local variations in need, demand, assets, risk factors and protective factors
- Gaps or limitations in provision or support, or opportunities to address unmet need or improve outcomes
- Approaches, tools or interventions to improve the identification of need, improve access to support, support upstream interventions or reduce unmet need
This often results in important contributions to the evidence base itself, but its primary function is to provide actionable insights and recommendations to inform GambleAware’s commissioning strategy – namely the scoping, design and delivery of support and treatment services, prevention programmes, and campaigns.
Key examples of this work include:
- Annual GB Treatment and Support Survey
- Treatment Needs and Gap Analysis
- Treatment system demand and capacity modelling
- Research on minority communities or women
- Research on the lived experience of stigma and how services can respond to it
- Analysis of treatment impact for the National Gambling Support Network (NGSN)
- Secondary data analysis using the Annual GB Treatment Survey to better understand the relationship between gambling harms and other risk factors
- Building the capacity and voice of the gambling lived experience community
GambleAware also has an important system leadership role of building awareness of gambling harms and filling gaps in the evidence base on under-researched areas of gambling. In general this research focuses on foundational evidence on the scale, nature and experience of gambling harms. It also includes programmes to build the capacity and infrastructure of the gambling lived experience movement, so that its voice and perspective can be at the centre of discourse on gambling. As well as providing a public and social benefit, this has the ultimate objective of informing public debate and discourse, or local strategies to address gambling harms.
Key examples of this research include:
- Research on the nature and scale of gambling-related stigma
- Research on young people’s experiences of advertising or loot boxes
- Local area estimates of the prevalence of gambling harms and demand for support
- Local and regional data profiles
- Annual statistics for the National Gambling Support Network
- Support for the Gambling Lived Experience Network
How research is carried out
GambleAware’s research grants are awarded through open competition: calls for proposals, including clear assessment criteria, are published on our website. Funding decisions are made using assessment panels comprising independent external subject matter experts as well as individuals with lived experience, who score proposals against the published assessment criteria. The gambling industry has absolutely no input at any stage of the research commissioning, delivery or publication process.
GambleAware works with a wide range of partners across the sector, including research agencies, universities, community networks, academic experts, and research and community consultants. Multi-disciplinary collaboration is either encouraged or required for research programme grants. This approach ensures a diversity of expertise and perspectives; ensures methodological and programmatic robustness; facilitates the involvement of communities themselves; and maximises the relevance of the research to policy and practice.
GambleAware’s research involves a variety of methods, both quantitative and qualitative, such as literature review, critical discourse analysis, representative large-scale surveys, semi-structured and unstructured qualitative interviews, ethnographic methods or direct observation, and systematic review.
Given the importance of addressing inequalities, much of GambleAware’s research focuses on the lived experience of communities who are more likely to be marginalised, socially excluded or stigmatised. In such cases, it is also underpinned by a commitment to ensure those communities are meaningfully involved. GambleAware has published guidelines for researchers to ensure the meaningful involvement in research of people with lived experience of gambling harms.
GambleAware has an established review process for all published research outputs, in order to ensure rigour and quality. This includes external peer review by independent subject matter or methodological experts.
For more information about research and evaluation commissioning see here.