Report shows alarming gambling rates in Scotland

A quarter of Scots admitted they gamble at least once a week.

Employment agency Reed in Partnership conducted a study that revealed Scots are the most frequent gamblers in the UK.

UK.- A report by the employment agency Reed in Partnership, revealed alarming rates in Scots’ gambling habits.

Scotland’s MSPs have called for fixed odds betting terminals to be banned. Back in December, the Scottish Parliament’s local government and regeneration committee said the machines, which are known as the “crack cocaine of gambling,” were so harmful they should be outlawed from the high street.

Gambling charity Gamcare said that people should be aware of leisure gambling slipping into “problem gambling.” Catherine Sweet, the charity’s spokewoman said: “We acknowledge that for many, gambling is not a harmful activity and can be a fun leisure pastime. For some it can become a serious problem, and we believe it’s important for people to properly understand the risks associated with gambling. If someone is spending more time or money on gambling than they would like to, support is available.”

The study found that Scots are the most frequent gamblers in the UK as more than a quarter of adults in Scotland admitted that they gamble at least once a week. Over five times the numbers of adults in Scotland gamble in comparison with the 5 percent of the working population in the south-west of England. A third of Scottish working adults who gamble say they would prefer to keep the extent of their gambling hidden from their colleagues.

The report also found that that 3 percent of people knew someone who had lost their job due to their gambling habit. The unemployed are twice as likely to use fixed odds betting terminals, one of the major growth areas for high street betting shops. On the other hand, those with management responsibility are more likely to have gambled in the past year than those without management responsibility.

“It’s important that we provide adequate support and guidance for those who are at risk of losing their jobs because of gambling, and those whose addiction is stopping them from getting back into the workplace,” said Martin Fallon, managing director of Reed in Partnership. “At the same time fixed odds betting terminals, which are particularly attractive to the unemployed, have such high limits that you could lose one month’s worth of Job Seeker’s Allowance in less than one minute.”