73% of the United Kingdom population gambled at least once in the past year while there are more than half a million problem gamblers in Britain.
Almost £65 million was entered into fixed odds betting terminals in Edinburgh alone in 2015 across the 112 bookmakers on the capital’s streets.
Research by the Royal College of Psychiatrists has found evidence that there is a link between gambling addiction to crime, mental health issues and family breakdowns.
Gambling is glamorised through advertising – featuring throughout ad-breaks during sporting events which are broadcast live on television. Young people are being exposed to gambling from a very young age – it has become normalised.
The old adage of a typical gambler being a middle aged man making his way to the bookies in between a visit to the pub is being replaced by young men who have the opportunity to bet 24-hours a day.
While the value of the gambling industry as a whole has grown from £8bn in 2011 to £11bn in 2015, the number of problem gamblers has risen by 100,000 in that period to over half a million.