The Scottish Health Survey 2021: summary report

Key findings from the Scottish Health Survey 2021 report.

This document is part of a collection

Chapter 9 Gambling

The proportion of adults undertaking any gambling activities in 2021 has decreased significantly since 2012, whilst prevalence of adult gambling activity excluding the National Lottery has changed to a lesser extent.

Men have consistently been more likely to gamble than women since 2012.

61% men in 2021

56% women in 2021

Online gambling participation has doubled since 2012.

7% 2012

14% 2021

The five most popular forms of gambling activity in 2021 were:

In 2021, gambling activity in the last 12 months varied by age, with the lowest prevalence amongst those aged 16-24 and highest for those aged 45-54 (35-44 when the National Lottery is excluded).

In 2021, men had taken part in more different gambling activities than women in the past 12 months on average.

1.5 for men

1.1 for women

Those aged 25-44 took part in the highest number of different gambling activities in 2021.

1.6 on average

In 2021, 8% of adults participated in four or more gambling activities in the last year.

More than double the amount of men participated in four or more gambling activities in the last year than women in 2021.

12% men

5% women

In 2021, adults who did not participate in gambling in the past 12 months had, on average, higher levels of mental wellbeing as measured by WEMWBS1 than those that did. After excluding the National Lottery, this difference increases.

49.6 Adults who do not participate in gambling

47.9 Adult who participate in gambling

47.4 Adults who participate in gambling excluding National Lottery

Women who gambled in 2021 had lower mental wellbeing than men who gambled.

48.6 Men

47.3 Women

In 2021, according to PGSI2 scores:

Men were more likely than women to have a PGSI score that indicated they were a problem gambler in 2021.

In 2019/2021 combined, men in the younger age groups were more likely than women to have had an accident in the previous 12 months.

0.7% men

0.1% women


1 WEMWBS scores range from 14 to 70. Higher scores indicate greater wellbeing.

2 The Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). The scale runs from 0 to 27: a score of eight or over represents problem gambling. Scores between three and seven are indicative of ‘moderate risk’ gambling and scores of one or two are indicative of ‘low risk’ gambling.



Back to top