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Gambling: key points

  • The 2014 Scottish Health Survey reported that around two thirds of Scottish adults had spent money on gambling within the previous 12 months.
  • Many types of gambling are legally available in Scotland including bingo, slot machines, casinos, betting shops and the National Lottery.
  • Many people gamble without experiencing any adverse consequences, but others experience a range of health harms including depression, anxiety and poor physical health.
  • It is estimated that in 2014 almost one in 100 Scottish adults (0.8% of the adult population, or around 36,000 people) were problem gamblers, based on two standard measures.
  • A further 1.5% (around 67,000 adults) were likely to be at risk of gambling problems, based on a standard risk questionnaire.


Acknowledgement: ScotPHO would like to thank Heather Wardle for her assistance in producing this section.

Section updates:

  • This section was first published in October 2015.
  • The next major review / update is due to be carried out by end December 2017.
Page last updated: 15 September 2017

© Scottish Public Health Observatory 2014