Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary memorandum submitted by BACTA

  As you will know, BACTA submitted its memorandum of evidence to the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee on the above subject in October last year.

  We have subsequently had drawn to our attention the oral evidence given to the Committee by Dr Sue Fisher of the University of Plymouth on 14 December 2000, which has recently been published.

  In that evidence, on page 182, in reply to question 464 asked by Mrs Organ about compulsive gaming, Dr Fisher stated: "The only major study which has been done of adults in this country on gambling is the one recently done by Gamcare into about 8,500 adults over 16. They used two different measures but I think they found the rate was something like 1.8 per cent, but I am not certain and would have to check that."

  We do not know if Dr Fisher did, indeed check that figure. However, to assist the Committee and for the avoidance of any doubt, the Gamcare study entitled "Gambling Behaviour in Britain: Results from the British Gambling Prevalence Survey", which was published in June 2000, said on page iii of its Summary of Findings: "Among the population aged 16 and over, the prevalence of problem gambling in Britain is 0.8 per cent according to the SOGS and 0.6 per cent acording to the DSM-IV." SOGS stands for the South Oaks Gambling Screen and DSM-IV is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition. Both are the most widely used screens to determine whether or not someone is a problem gambler.

  BACTA finds it surprising that Dr Fisher, who is supposedly an expert in the field of problem gambling, was not aware of the correct figures from the Gamcare survey, which is the most recent and comprehensive survey of gambling in Britain ever undertaken. Her erroneous figure of 1.8 per cent effectively exaggerated the extent of problem gambling in Britain by 200 per cent, when measured against the DSM-IV finding of 0.6 per cent.

  We would be very grateful if this letter could be brought to the attention of all members of the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee.

February 2001

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