GambleAware broadens the understanding of gambling harms as a public health issue, and improves our knowledge of what works in prevention, education and treatment. GambleAware aims to improve the evidence base around ‘what works’ in terms of understanding the nature and impacts of gambling, prevention of gambling-related harms, and provision of effective services. In so doing, we wish to continue to shift the focus beyond the individual to include products and the broader gambling environment, in line with a public health approach.

GambleAware’s research activity is guided by the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling and Gambling Commission's Research Programme, and supports the National Responsible Gambling Strategy. Its independence is ensured by the Research Governance and Commissioning Procedure agreed with the Gambling Commission.

Commissioned research is peer-reviewed by international academic experts and published via the GambleAware website. We follow Research Council policy regarding research ethics, encouraging and funding open access publication in academic journals and data reuse.

Research strategy

Research priorities are guided by the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms published by the Gambling Commission in April 2019. Key priority areas as identified in the strategy including high stake, high prize gaming machines and remote gambling (including mobile and social gambling). An essential feature of GambleAware's long-term strategy for research is executing a robust and systematic examination of data collected and held by the gambling industry in order to consider its usefulness for research into responsible gambling and harm minimisation.

Research Commissioning and Governance Procedure

A Research Commissioning and Governance Procedure describes how research priorities are identified, and research projects commissioned, through the tripartite agreement between the ABSG, GambleAware and the Gambling Commission. It covers the commissioning and governance of a wide range of research, from individually commissioned research, to that undertaken through longer-term options, such as PhDs.

Research Programme and Strategic Delivery Plan

A revised ABSG and Gambling Commission research programme was published in September 2018 and sets out priorities for research to be commissioned from 2018 to 2022. In line with the Research Commissioning and Governance Procedure published in May 2016, the ABSG will create a research brief for each of these projects. This will set out more detail on the questions each project should answer, the context for the research and how it will be used. GambleAware will be responsible for commissioning this research programme and ensuring the research is delivered to a high standard.

GambleAware has published a Strategic Delivery Plan which will implement its elements of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms and deliver the ABSG’s Research Programme.

Invitations to tender

The evaluation of bids in response to invitations to tender for research will be performed by GambleAware's Independent Research Review Group. This Group advises the Research & Evaluation Committee, which then takes the final decision. In the case of treatment and harm prevention-related invitations to tender, it is the GambleAware Education & Treatment Committee that reviews submissions and advises GambleAware's full board of trustees.  The minutes of these meetings may list all the applicants as well as identifying those to whom grants are awarded. 

Unfortunately GambleAware cannot accept unsolicited proposals.

If you are a researcher and wish to receive notification of any new invitations to tender for research that are issued by GambleAware, please email us and request to be added to the GambleAware 'ITT database'.

Ethics and data protection

GambleAware requires research to comply at all times with good practice in research ethics and with data protection legislation. This is especially the case as much of the research commissioned involves vulnerable people.

Researchers must:

  • Follow the code of practice for their discipline. Where there is not a discipline specific code of practice, the Economic and Social Research Council framework for research ethics must be followed
  • Set out in bids how they will address issues of ethics and protection of personal data, which will be taken into consideration in the evaluation of Responses
  • Obtain ethical approval prior to commencement which must include scrutiny by an ethics review panel independent of the research team. Responses must state how ethical approval will be obtained
  • Report in final reports on how ethical approval, ethical concerns and data protection were addressed in the research.

Data reuse

GambleAware follows Research Council policy regarding data reuse. Research data is a public good which should be available for full exploitation. GambleAware commissioned research generates a range of datasets of potential value. While such datasets can contain commercial or sensitive data, data reuse practice enables data sharing even in this context.

Researchers are required to make available for reuse, primary data collected or generated during research or derived from existing sources, in a timely way, with as few restrictions as possible, compliant with ethics, privacy and intellectual property. Non-deposit of research data is an exception which must be justified. Specifically, research is required to adhere to the following requirements and include in ITT Responses a data management and sharing plan, with costs for this included in ITT Responses.

  • Demonstrate no suitable data is available for reuse before creating new data
  • Make openly available research data, free of charge, as open data, safeguarded data or controlled data, with these different levels of security depending on the sensitivity and confidentially of the data
  • Take account of legal, ethical and commercial constraints on release of research data, and plan at the initiation and through the research cycle how these will be managed, with the aim of maximising data reuse. This includes, where appropriate, obtaining informed consent for data sharing, anonymising data, and seeking data-sharing approval as part of ethical review  
  • Provide sufficient metadata to ensure research data are discoverable and independently understood without recourse to the creator, and for the creators of the data to be cited
  • Make data which supports published research outputs findable and accessible at the same time as published outputs as far as possible. Publications should state how underlying research materials, including data, samples or models, can be accessed
  • Deposit data for reuse with a responsible digital repository, which meets Research Council requirements, and which provides data assets in a way which are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. GambleAware may, in certain circumstances, specify the data repository with which the data should be deposited
  • Intellectual property contributions of researchers in the creation of data are recognised through citation, and abiding by the terms and conditions under which data is accessed. Researchers may apply to have a limited period of privileged use of the data to enable them to publish their results (usually no more than 12 months from the end of the project).