It seems that Scotland is the region of the UK with the highest levels of gambling activity. A new research that was carried for the UK Gambling Commission has revealed that over two-thirds of local adult residents bet on an annual basis.
According to the study, which was carried out for the UK gambling regulatory watchdog and was aimed to examine gambling in Wales, Scotland and nine regions in England, approximately 68% of the local residents have placed bets over the last 12 months in Scotland. In comparison, 52% of the residents of the country’s capital have gambled over the same period of time.
As mentioned above, Scottish residents have been most active when it comes to gambling. The research for the UK Gambling Commission has revealed that Scottish people have placed the largest number of bets. A total of 68% of local adults have placed a bet over the last 12 months compared with the national average, which amounted to a total of 63%.
In addition, Scotland had also registered the highest level of online betting with a bookmaker – a level of 10% in comparison to 7% across the rest of the country. When it comes to betting machines available in local bookmakers’ shops, it turns out that 5% of adults in Scotland, Yorkshire and the east part of England used such machines compared to a national average of 3%.
As far as machines in local bookmakers are concerned, fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) are also concerned. The controversial machines have lately been vastly criticised across the British gambling machines due to their addictiveness. According to the information presented in the research, approximately 43% of players who have used fixed-odds betting machines to place their bets are either at risk of becoming compulsive gamblers or have already been suffering from problem gambling behaviour.
Problem Gambling and FOBTs Issues
Problem gambling has become one of the major issues in the UK gambling industry over the past last few years, especially in terms of fixed-odds betting terminals. The UK Government is expected to publish its report on the industry, and more specifically on FOBTs, in October. The authorities’ report on the controversial machines allowing players to place bets of up to £100 every 20 seconds on various games such as blackjack, roulette and poker was initially due in June, but its due date was put off due to some disagreements between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the UK Treasury.
The large stakes allowed and the highly-addictive nature of the fixed-odds betting machines became the main reasons why FOBTs have been put under strong criticism lately. Now, the UK Government is expected to seriously reduce the maximum bet allowed on machines, as well as other restrictions aimed at protecting local gamblers more efficiently.
Apart from being criticised for encouraging customers to place bets on such machines, the gaming and betting companies in the UK have been also accused by various Governmental and non-Governmental authorities and organisations of gathering large number of FOBTs on high streets in poverty-stricken areas. Some charities aimed at making local customers more aware of the possible negative effects of gambling have insisted that the country’s gambling operators have been taking advantage of the poorest players in the country.
When it comes to the country’s major gambling regulator, the UK Gambling Commission, it has said there is more that needs to be done in terms of problem gambling. The Commission has been constantly focused on increasing players’ awareness of possible negative effects of gambling and has also been aiming at forging stricter rules and tighter regulation for the industry.