The Scottish Health Survey unveils study about gambling problem in Scotland
Scotland has about 31,000 problem gamblers while nearly three-quarters of the population have placed a bet in the past year, according to the findings from the Scottish Health Survey.
The Herald Scottish newspaper reported that 74% of men and 67% of women gambled during 2012, while 0.7% of adults have been identified as problem gamblers.
A further 3% of adults were classed as being at “low risk” of harm from gambling, while 1% was a moderate risk.
The survey discovered that one in 12 Scottish adults have participated in online gambling during the last 12 months – with men three times as likely than women to do so.
Gambling participation was revealed to be highest in those aged between 24 and 54, but when participation in the UK National Lottery was excluded, the 16 to 24 age group was the most active.
Despite the findings, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said that the “levels of problem gambling in Scotland are low and consistent with levels seen across the UK”.
She added: “However, the Scottish Government recognises the devastation that gambling problems can cause for individuals and will continue to press the UK Government to ensure that the fast-changing gambling landscape doesn't lead to more widespread problems.”
Rhonda Grant, Scottish Labour party spokeswoman on wellbeing, added: “We have to make sure that support services are in place to allow early intervention to ensure gambling doesn't become a serious problem that blights more people's lives.”
A Church of Scotland spokesman also said that although 0.7% is a low figure for problem gamblers, it is still a cause for concern.
“Whatever the number, one person affected by gambling is one person too many,” he added.
“The nature of gambling is inherently disturbing and the government and other agencies have to be aware of the effects and consequences of gambling on individuals and their families.”