The Scottish people are Britain’s most avid gamblers, according to figures newly published by the UK Gambling Commission, with over two-thirds of adults saying they had gambled in the past year.
Or more specifically, 68 percent of Scottish respondents admitted to having placed a bet in the preceding 12 months, compared with 52 percent in London and a national average of 63 percent.
The UKGC survey, for which around 4,000 adults were interviewed, also found that Scotland had the highest level of online sports betting participation, at around 10 percent of the population, compared with 7 percent across the rest of the UK.
Scots were also number one for engagement with fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). Five percent had used the controversial machines, which are installed in the UK’s high street betting shops, compared with a national average of 3 percent.
Next month, the government is expected to publish the long-awaited results of its regulatory review into FOBTs, which may recommend slashing the maximum stakes. Currently, it’s possible to wager a maximum £100 ($133) every 20 seconds, although bookmakers have warned that a significant reduction in stakes will result in job losses and the closure of betting shops across the UK.
Statistics published by the UKGC in August suggested problem gambling rates across the UK, which had remained static since surveys began in 1999, may have risen by 0.2 percent since 2012, to 0.8 percent of the population.
However, since the increase falls within the margin of error for a survey of this sample size, the UKGC concluded that problem gambling rates in Britain were “statistically stable.”
Problem gambling among users of FOBTs, however, had risen significantly since 2012, from 7 percent to 10 percent.
Aussies Gamble Harder
Scotland also holds the record for the most bookmaking shops on a single street. This dubious honor goes to Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, which has 14, although, it should be noted, it is quite a long street.
But while the Scottish may be Britain’s biggest gamblers, they may console themselves with the fact that they are nowhere as bad as Australians. In fact, despite relatively high participation rates, the problem gambling rates across the UK are quite low.
In most countries, they tend to hover above the UK’s figures, at around the 1 percent mark. Meanwhile, in Australia they’re around 1.7 percent.
The Economist recently revealed reveals that Australians lose more per capita than any other country in the world, an average of $990. Consultancy firm H2 Gambling Capital (H2G), found that Australia’s betting losses per resident adult were “about double the average in other Western countries.”