Gambling Commission selects NatCen to evaluate Gambling Act review’s success in preventing harm

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) has been commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Gambling Commission to develop a Monitoring and Evaluation plan for the Gambling Act Review (GAR). The Gambling Act Review was launched in 2020 to examine whether changes to gambling regulation in Great Britain are needed since the Gambling Act of 2005.

The not-for-profit social research organization’s project will establish the evaluation design to address how effective the GAR has been in preventing gambling-related harm to vulnerable groups and wider communities, gambling behaviors, and the gambling market. 

The NatCen stated that the GAR evaluation will aim to consider whether there is an “appropriate balance” between consumer freedoms and choice on and prevention of harm to vulnerable groups and wider communities; and whether customers are suitably protected whenever and wherever they are gambling, as well as if there is an “equitable approach” to the regulation of the online and the land-based industries.

NatCen will develop a Theory of Change (ToC) for the GAR in co-design with DCMS and the Gambling Commission. This ToC will be supported by document analysis to ensure that the evaluation design is considered in the full context of recent changes in the gambling landscape.

NatCen will deliver a complete evaluation plan considering feasible approaches and practical recommendations for implementing this evaluation of the critical review, according to a press release.

Dr Sokratis Dinos, NatCen’s Director of Health Policy said: “We are delighted to work on this project, to develop this monitoring and evaluation plan of the vital Gambling Act Review. The past decade has seen a significant shift in the perspective of gambling harms, and this contract is pivotal in providing feasible approaches and practical recommendations. 

This evaluation will consider the extent to which measures have effectively prevented gambling-related harm to vulnerable groups and wider communities, whilst enabling the balance of consumer freedom and informed choice, and  explore the wider impact on gambling behaviors and the market.”