The Gambling Commission said the research will look into "whether some gambling products and environments are more harmful than others". The first phase of the project will focus on online gambling.
The research has been commissioned by charity GambleAware and is supported by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) which serves as an independent adviser to the Gambling Commission.
"For this project, the Gambling Commission will make a data request to industry to obtain the data needed for the research, as we do not currently have access to the datasets required," the research brief published by the RGSB said. "The research team will work with the Gambling Commission to shape the data request made to industry. Industry will also be asked to support actions to gain consent from players for additional data to be collected. The Gambling Commission is committed to supporting this process to ensure that the successful research team have access to the data and to the players they need to answer the research questions."
According to the research brief, "insights from data on the socio-economic, demographic and at-risk/problem gambling status of gamblers" will be needed to identify which "environments, products and characteristics are most strongly associated with harmful play".
Some of the metrics that researchers could look at include the size, frequency and time between stakes, the volume and value of deposits, speed and day and time of play and the duration of the playing session. They could also look at the proportion of revenue gathered from certain percentiles of customers, payment methods used, the pattern of withdrawal and deposit, use of gambling management tools and interaction between customer services teams and players.
Ben Haden, programme director at the Gambling Commission, said: "Our strategy sets out our commitment to preventing harm to consumers from the risks gambling can pose. Success of this relies on growing our evidence base to better understand the types of gambling products and services that present more of a risk of harm to consumers than others. Gambling firms have an important role to play in achieving this as they hold comprehensive data that is vital to this research. It goes beyond simply analysing the data which is already reported to us by operators and we will be encouraging the industry to get involved."
Clare Wyllie, director of research commissioning at GambleAware, said: "For the first time, we will be able to look comprehensively across the gambling industry to understand where the risk of harm lies and by making data available to researchers, industry can gain new insights to prevent harm and to ensure customers gamble safely."