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GamCare is committed to bridging the current gap between universities, research organisations, charities and frontline services to make sure that research is practical and applicable.

By building relationships with stakeholders and being aware of current trends in research, we have an impact on the questions that are asked, and the methods used to answer them.

We regularly receive requests to join research projects in different capacities. We assess the projects based on our guiding principles, ethical standards and other methodological criteria outlined in our research framework.

Guiding Principles

Any research that GamCare is involved in must:

  • Help and not hinder everyone who feels its impact.
  • Be applied research that creates tools or provides insights that can be used in service design and/or delivery.
  • Be shaped by and include the meaningful involvement of people who have been affected by gambling harms.

Current Projects

The Gambling Harms Severity Index (GHSI)

Development & Evaluation of a Robust and Flexible Measurement Tool, calibrated with Health Utility and the Problem Gambling Severity Index.

Measurement of gambling has not, historically, focused on harms. Instead, measurement approaches have usually framed gambling within clinical definitions of ‘non-problematic’ versus ‘problematic gambling’. This singular focus on ‘problematic’ individuals ignored harms across the wider population.

It was within such a paradigm that frequently used measurement and screening tools such as the ‘Problem Gambling Severity Index’ (PGSI) were developed. Recent commentary has argued, that such tools are becoming outdated, and are not readily aligned with public health and harm reduction strategies.

These are aimed at changing behaviours across the population, such as educational campaigns.

Next steps for harms measurement

Our previous scoping work, including literature review of academic and grey literature, alongside stakeholder engagement, identified a series of recommendations for future research on the measurement of gambling related harms. It suggested that:

  • Measurement of gambling should focus on harms

The field should move away from anachronistic measurement tools that conflate harms and behaviours, often used to produce pseudo-clinical and stigmatising ‘problem gambler’ labels onto individuals. New measurement tools should be used, predicated on modern measurement approaches such as robust frameworks and lived experience input.

  • Various harms measurements need to be rationalised in a single ‘harm index’

With various different approaches being used to measure harms (e.g. the SGHS in Australia; the NatCenGH-13 in the Gambling Commission annual survey), the proliferation of harms measurement needs to rationalised by using standard statistical approaches such as IRT. This would enable a standardised ‘harm index’ to be generated from various questionnaire approaches, including those for affected others.

Such an approach would provide backwards compatibility with historic measurement such as the PGSI, where data could still be used to produce scores on the same, common ‘harm index’. This ‘harm index’ could act to replace PGSI scores, and used as a common metric for monitoring harms at the level of individuals through to whole populations.

  • Harms measurement should be linked to decrements in quality of life

This will align gambling with other public health economic approaches, enabling cost-effective targeting of interventions for the highest overall impact on quality of life.

Involvement in Past Projects

Evaluation of the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme


Queen Mary University of London - Gambling Related Financial Harm Research Project

A Unique Position and a Difficult Challenge: Banks’ Support of Individuals Experiencing Gambling-Related Financial Harm.

This research project evolved from our discussions at the Multidisciplinary Research Hub for the Prevention of Gambling Harm at Queen Mary University of London. The aim of our Research Hub is to look at harm prevention in gambling holistically, and with this project we wanted to examine what the payment industry (with a focus on banking services) can reasonably contribute to this aim.

As one of our Lived Experience Participants has said, gambling and banking is all about money, and moving money. This raises the question of how banks should prevent or minimise serious gambling related financial harm by offering support and tools to customers affected.

The answer to this question depends partly on systems and technology used, partly on the nature of the relationship between the banks and their clients, and partly on the manifestations of compulsive gambling. We therefore thought a multi-disciplinary approach, involving both psychology and law, was necessary to answer this multi-facetted question.

This report and its findings stem from a 6-month project (June-November 2023), funded by Queen Mary University of London’s Humanities and Social Sciences Impact Fund. The research was carried out with the assistance of GamCare. GamCare involved us in their Gambling-Related Financial Harm (GRFH) networking events and Insight Workshops.

The research was the sole responsibility of Queen Mary University of London, and any errors and omissions remain our own. The research was funded by the HSS Impact Development Fund at QMUL and we were assisted by two of our graduates as research assistants and co-authors of this Report, Rita Kenkwanzi and Dr Elizabeth Quinn.

Read the report

Impact Evaluation Report of the Gambling Related Financial Harm (GRFH) Project

In 2019, we established the Gambling Related Financial Harm (GRFH) project to bring together key sectors, including banking, debt and money advice and gambling treatment, to raise awareness of this issue. Almost 500 people across those sectors have been involved in the work.

Together, we set out to develop initiatives and resources to help organisations identify those who are experiencing financial harm, and ensure they are supported. Last year, we commissioned Rocket Science, an independent research and evaluation company, to assess the project and its impact since its launch.

Read the report

Developing a question to identify gambling harms to individuals or affected others

Local Authorities are being asked by the government to help people experiencing gambling harms, such as debt and money problems, as well as mental health issues. However, Local Authorities are not always sure how to identify people in need of help.

Working with GamCare, we have been funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) under its Research for Social Care programme to test a question for use in three Local Authorities. We hope this will help to identify people affected by gambling harms, and provide them with the support they need. It will also tell us more about gambling harms.

Read the report

Young People’s Service Research Findings

Published with DJS Research. The overarching aim of this project is to understand the kind of support young people want with regards to gambling related harms. The research will be used to improve the support offered by GamCare’s Young People’s Support Service.

Read the report


IFF and University of Bristol - Women and Gambling

Building Knowledge of Women’s Lived Experience of Gambling and Gambling Harms Across Great Britain.

Research to date has shown that women experience gambling and gambling harms in different ways from men, but little is known about the gambling experiences of British women who gamble. Similarly, there is growing recognition of the harm that individuals and families can experience because of someone else’s gambling, a group commonly referred to as “affected others” (AO).

GambleAware commissioned a consortium of IFF Research, the University of Bristol and GamCare’s Women’s Programme to build knowledge about why women in Britain take part in different types of gambling, the effect this has on them and their lives, and their experience of treatment and support services.

An initial literature assessment helped us understand:

  • What is known about the drivers of gambling and gambling harms among women
  • What good might look like in terms of treatment and support for women experiencing harm from their own gambling or someone else’s.

The research also involved capturing the views of women who gamble, women as affected others and experts in the field, through depth interviews, focus groups, workshops and online communities, and analysing GambleAware’s Treatment and Support Survey (2021).

Read the report

Identifying gambling-related harms earlier to inform sentencing and treatment pathways


Analysis of GamCare Treatment Clients with King’s College London

GamCare and its partner network provide gambling treatment services in Great Britain as part of the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS).

They offer face-to-face, online and telephone therapeutic support and treatment for people with gambling problems as well as family and friends who are impacted by gambling.

This project examined treatment data from GamCare’s client record management (CRM) system with the intention of assessing what impacted treatment effectiveness. The population of focus was all valid clients who started and completed psychosocial treatment with GamCare, or one of their partner agencies, between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2020.

Read the report

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