Only 10 per cent of people in Scotland consider themselves to be gamblers – even though over half buy lottery tickets (68 per cent) and scratch cards (55 per cent), and two in five enjoy betting on sporting events.
YouGov questioned adults in Scotland about their gambling habits over the last 12 months and found widespread confusion about what counts as gambling.
Forty-three per cent do not think that playing machine games in a seaside arcade is gambling and there is similar uncertainty about other ‘softer’ activities – 40 per cent do not think playing in a bingo club constitutes gambling, and 28 per cent don’t consider playing the lottery or buying scratch cards to be gambling.
Whilst 32 per cent of people surveyed say they gamble for fun and enjoyment, or as a sociable activity (15 per cent), one in five say they do it to make money.
Only 32 per cent are familiar with the idea of researching the odds, while just 24 per cent set a time limit and 42 per cent set a loss limit.
The poll was commissioned by the Industry Group For Responsible Gambling to coincide with Responsible Gambling Week (November 7-13), a national campaign in the UK and Ireland to promote safer gambling, supported by the industry and leading gambling charities.
The objective is to get people talking about how to gamble responsibly, without putting themselves and others at risk, and to provide year-round advice and help at Responsible Gambling
The research highlights the distinction people make between ‘softer’ forms of gambling, which many do not regard as gambling at all, and so-called ‘harder’ gambling, which they believe may not apply to them.
However, Responsible Gambling Week encourages everyone to remember simple tips whenever and wherever they are gambling:
• Only spend what you can afford
• Set your limits
• Never chase your losses
• Gambling is not the answer to any problem
• Gambling shouldn’t interfere with personal relationships
• Gambling when angry or upset is not a good idea
More than 120,000 staff at thousands of gambling venues across the UK and Ireland and online sites are taking part in Responsible Gambling Week, initiating conversations with customers about safer gambling as part of an on-going commitment by operators to train staff to engage pro-actively with customers and intervene when necessary.
John Hagan, chair of the Industry Group For Responsible Gambling, said: “This research highlights the importance of educating everyone about the importance of safer gambling, including those who think the messages do not apply to them.
“Every problem gambler is someone who once thought they didn’t have a problem.
“Most people gamble responsibly and purely for enjoyment, but we want safer gambling messages, such as setting time limits or spending limits, to become as instinctive as putting on a seatbelt when you get into your car.
“Promoting safer gambling is a year-round responsibility, which operators and their staff take very seriously.
“The poll shows there is strong support for a public education campaign and the objective of Responsible Gambling Week is to educate people about safer gambling, but the campaign is just one aspect of the work being done by the industry throughout the year to protect its customers.”