Scottish authorities have released new statistics from the Scottish Public Health Observatory that show 18,000 people in Scotland were classed as problem gamblers in 2021, which equates to around 0.4% of Scottish adults. Additionally, about 68,000 adults or 1.5% were classified as being at risk for moderate gambling problems. The figures indicate a drop from the last study in 2016, where 0.7% of the Scottish adult population were classed as problem gamblers.
The study also found that men were more likely than women to be problem gamblers, while younger people between the ages of 16 and 24 were more likely to be at risk of moderate gambling problems. Scotland, like many countries, has seen a surge in online gambling, which has raised concerns about the potential for more severe gambling addiction. The report advises that online gambling be regularly monitored for signs of excessive or harmful gambling issues, as well as any process used to regulate the activity tightly.
This drop in problem gambling across Scotland comes at a time when there has been increased criticism of the gambling industry and how it promotes its products, particularly to young people. Scotland’s betting industry will face tighter regulation after new legislation passed in June, which aims to protect vulnerable consumers from gambling harms. The legislation also included new measures such as limiting gambling advertising and the use of credit cards for online accounts.
The overall take from the study is that while there has been a decline in Scotland’s problem gambling statistics, the country should not become complacent. With high levels of online gambling and the potential for more addictive gambling activities with new and emerging technologies, it is important that regulators keep close tabs on gambling addiction rates to ensure that vulnerable people are not left behind. Overall, the Scottish Health Survey’s findings serve as a reminder of the importance of regulating the online gambling industry and taking care of players with problematic behaviors, as online gambling continues to dominate the gaming sector.